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Double Chocolate Icebox Shortbread with Smoky Whisky Sugar

Double Chocolate Icebox Shortbread with Smoky Whisky Sugar

Beyond the Books

It all started with the sugar. I saw this recipe for bourbon infused sugar, and realized immediately that it had huge potential for our 21st C Outlander Kitchens, with one wee change.

Talisker and Vanilla Infused Sugar

I chose to infuse my sugar with a Talisker 1o YO – it’s got a lot of smoky notes that pair very well with chocolate. Lagavulin or Laphroaig are 2 other excellent, if more costly, choices for a smoky whisky.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stolen a sniff from my jar of smoky whisky sugar in the last week.  It’s a very sensual experience.

smoky whisky sugar

You’ll have some extra sugar, even after a couple of batches of these cookies. Here are a few suggestions…use the sugar as a garnish on these recipes:

Where will you use it?

Double Chocolate Icebox Shortbread with Smoky Whisky Sugar

This chocolate shortbread recipe comes together easily, and is a new favourite around here. Unless you’ve got an army around, you may want to freeze the second log for a treat two weeks down the road.

If you do have an army that includes kids, my suggestion is to top some of these beauties with crushed candy cane, so that the whole family can enjoy.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Double Chocolate Icebox Shortbread with Smoky Whisky Sugar

: Delicious chocolate shortbread, glazed with bittersweet chocolate and topped with whisky & vanilla infused golden sugar.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Smoky Whisky Sugar:

  • Vanilla Pod – 1
  • Coarse Golden Sugar (Demerara, Turbinado, Sugar in the Raw) – 1 Cup
  • Single Malt Whisky – 2 Tble


  • Butter, room temperature – 1 Cup
  • Powdered Sugar – ¾ Cup
  • Cocoa – ⅓ Cup
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • All-Purpose Flour – 2 Cups

Chocolate Glaze:

  • Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped – 4 oz
  • Butter – 1 tsp

Read instructions through at least once before you begin.

Make Whisky Sugar: Move rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to lowest setting (150 to 175°F).

With tip of a sharp knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise, then scrape seeds from inside of pod. Add vanilla seeds to sugar and whisky in a small bowl. Stir quickly to combine and spread in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Dry sugar in oven overnight, propping the oven door open about an inch with a wooden spoon. Toss lightly to break up chunks and store in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 weeks.

Make Cookie Dough: With hand mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Increase speed to medium high and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour, mixing to form a uniform dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into a log 1½ to 2” in diameter, lightly flouring your counter and hands if necessary.

Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (See notes.)

When ready to bake, move rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 350°F.

Unwrap logs and use a sharp knife to slice ¼” thick slices. Arrange slices 1” apart on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake until just golden at edges, about 12-15 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Make Chocolate Glaze: Melt chocolate and butter over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. (See notes.)

Assemble Cookies: Swipe the top half of the cookie through the chocolate glaze to cover about half of surface. Dry on wire rack about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with Smoky Whisky Sugar.

Store in a tin for up to 5 days.

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)


  • Dough logs can also be frozen for up to 4 weeks. Defrost on counter for 15 minutes before slicing.
  • If you don’t have a double boiler, set a small glass/ceramic/metal bowl over a pan containing about 1” of simmering water. Careful, it gets hot!
  • To make these kiddie friendly, top with crushed candy cane.


  1. Charlyne Laine
    December 15, 2014 at 5:08 am

    You could also chop nuts very finely and sprinkle on top of the chocolate

    They look delicious.

  2. Cathy
    December 15, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Any way I can substitute liquid vanilla for the vanilla pod?

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2014 at 7:19 am

      I meant to put that in the notes…yes, I would use a teaspoon of extract.

  3. Tracy
    December 15, 2014 at 6:50 am

    A possibly stupid question though … do you leave the oven on overnight with the sugar or do you turn the oven off after the sugar does into the oven? I love the buttery goodness of shortbread and with chocolate (and whisky), this recipe sounds heavenly.

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Leave the oven on. 🙂

  4. medievalrose2
    December 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

    This looks divine! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Lee Ann
    December 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

    Amazing! This comes at the perfect time since I was wondering what to do for a gift for someone!

  6. Molly
    December 15, 2014 at 7:11 am

    OK was the first destination this morning! This recipe looks like it won’t disappoint (or last long after baking). Thank you this will surely be a new holiday must-bake. Going to have to get more golden sugar to get that topping started!

  7. Lee Achor
    December 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Will be adding this to my tradition cookie baking. Can not beat the combination of shortbread, chocolate and whisky – yum!

  8. MargZ
    December 15, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Hey there,

    This looks great and cannot wait to try it. The link to print the recipe is not working.

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2014 at 8:11 am

      Oops! It’s now been fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Jana
      January 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      I don’t even SEE a print button anywhere!!!
      Please point me to it!!

    • Theresa
      January 4, 2015 at 7:51 am

      As it says, click on the title of the recipe.

  9. Donna
    December 15, 2014 at 8:31 am


  10. thompsonpat
    December 15, 2014 at 8:47 am

    this is sure to be a hit w my husband who loves chocolate and scotch!

  11. Susie
    December 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Good thing I am already planning on going to the grocery store today, for I can’t wait to try these!! I have a holiday party to go to and these look amazing!!

  12. Jennifer
    December 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

    These look delicious! We are having a “boozy” treats day at my office on Thursday and these cookies will be perfect. Thank you!

  13. Ala @ Ala Lemon
    December 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

    That sounds sinfully delicious!!

  14. Maria
    December 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I read you have to leave the oven on all night for the whiskey sugar, but is there a certain amount of time the sugar needs to stay in the oven? Like possibly 24 hours?

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2014 at 10:41 am

      24 hours is a lot longer than overnight! My sugar was in the oven for 6 hours and it was dry when I took it out. It may be done sooner, I really can’t tell you.

  15. Mary Guido
    December 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I just picked up some Laphroig at Trader Joes, I can’t wait to try this. I will be using gluten few flour, so wish me luck!

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      It`s a pretty simple dough, Mary. The GF flour should work just fine…please let us know how they turn out!

  16. Vicki Larson
    December 16, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Well, I’ve printed the recipe, bought the ingredients available at the grocery store. Going to make the run for the liquor store on Friday (my city is DRY) I’ll let you know after Christmas how these went over with my family.

  17. Anna Lapping
    December 17, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I need something chocolate on my cookie tray besides chocolate chip cookies. I think this is it!

  18. jackie
    December 19, 2014 at 7:33 am

    how about the sangria recipe from Voyager

  19. Cindy Craig
    December 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I just finished these to take to a party tonight. OMG they are to die for. Light and crisp and not overly sweet. And oh so easy to make. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  20. Stephanie Gill
    December 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Made these this afternoon with the crushed candy canes instead. They’re delicious! And easy!

  21. Nadine
    December 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Here in the UK, cup sizes vary from US sizes – any chance we can get equivalent measurements in grams or in a pinch ounces?

    They look divine!

    • Theresa
      December 22, 2014 at 5:56 am

      I tried listing equivalents – you’ll see them in earlier recipes. It gets very cluttered looking and is also lot of work, however, and Outlander Kitchen is a volunteer effort at this point.

      There are a number of sites with equivalent calculators on the web. Please let me know if you need help finding one.

  22. Glenda
    December 21, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    They didn’t taste good. Weird texture. I don’t know why. I thought I followed the recipe.

    • Theresa
      December 22, 2014 at 5:52 am

      I’m sorry to hear that, Glenda. Everyone else who made them over the weekend has been raving about their taste and texture. Have a Merry Christmas.

  23. Jennifer
    December 22, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Merry Christmas Theresa!

  24. Judy
    December 22, 2014 at 10:57 am

    can these lovely cookies be made without cocoa? If so, add more vanilla?

    • Theresa
      December 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Replace the cocoa with 1/4 cup more powdered sugar…more vanilla is up to you.

  25. Kimberly Schwatka
    December 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I picked up a single malt today so I could try making these.

    • Kimberly Schwatka
      January 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Finished making these today. They are amazing

    • Vicki Larson
      January 2, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      I made the sugar using Laphraoig smoky whiskey and while it smelled delicious while in the oven, it kind of tasted like cough syrup afterwards. I may try it again but I would use some Bushmills this time. I love it and didn’t like the Laphroaig, The cookies were great without the sugar on top.

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Very interesting!

  26. Judy
    January 1, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Thanks, Theresa, and happy new year!

  27. Lori
    January 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Made the whiskey sugar before making the cookies. Delicious! Just the sugar, in a pretty jar, could make a great gift! Time to go make the cookies . . . 🙂

    • Lori
      January 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      I finally made the cookies and they were delicious . . . not too sweet and just the right amount of whiskey bitterness. Yum! They didn’t last long in my house. I have more sugar; guess it’s time to make more cookies! 🙂

  28. Leigh A.
    April 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Hello Theresa! Thank you for this wonderful website. It’s so lovely to see other people inspired by the Outlander World. Have you ever tried using a food dehydrator to make the whisky sugar? I’m wondering if that might be a good alternative to leaving the oven on and open overnight. Thanks for any insight and for all of this fun. I’ve been making a treat a week for my husband and I to eat while we watch when the new episodes come on.

    • Theresa
      April 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Sure, that may work! I don’t have a food dehydrator.

  29. Kylie Pearson
    December 1, 2015 at 2:08 am

    I just made the dough for these biscuits tonight and discovered that the mixture – prior to adding the flour – makes a delicious chocolate frosting!!! So yummy!

    I’ll be cooking the dough tomorrow. 🙂

    • Theresa
      December 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Never thought of that…but you’re totally right!

    • Kylie Pearson
      December 1, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      I baking the biscuits today! I don’t like shortbread but these are absolutely delicious! Thank you!

    • vicki larson
      December 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      I made these last Christmas. I used La Froix for the smoky whiskey. I baked the sugar overnight and the delicious smell woke me up. I’ll be making these again this year

  30. Joanne M.
    December 3, 2015 at 9:14 am

    When you say to dry the whisky sugar overnight, what would be a minimum length of time for that? Overnight could be anything from 7-8 hours to much longer depending on when you stick it in the oven.

    • Theresa
      December 5, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Overnight is generally considered to be at least 8 hours from a culinary perspective. If you leave it longer, it’s not going to matter.

  31. Diane
    December 21, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Made all new cookie recipes for Xmas this year and this was one of them. Definitely a hit and the number one pick by many of my guests. Absolutely love the chocolate shortbread – such a good flavor and not too sweet, just nice and buttery chocolatey. I did the peppermint for Christmas, but I am looking forward to trying the whisky sugar next time. Yum!

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