Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread with Dates

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

If you haven’t met Choffy yet, you might want to check it out. Choffy is roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed and you brew it like coffee. It’s my current hot drink of choice. The taste is deeply chocolate, but unlike hot cocoa, is light. I add some stevia and a splash of soy milk.

You can do other delicious things with Choffy, just as you might do with cacao nibs. I’ve been in a shortbread mood and remembered a favorite recipe for espresso shortbread from my pre-vegan days. Shortbread is an ideal recipe to veganize because there are no eggs or dairy milk involved. Replacing butter with a vegan alternative is ridiculously easy. So I followed the standard recipe but used 100% whole wheat instead of refined white flour and replaced white sugar with coconut  sugar. I wanted a hint of chocolate but felt chocolate chips would overwhelm these delicate cookies. Choffy (or crushed cacao nibs) are the perfect solution. Plus they add a nice crunch. Finally, I added chopped dates to bump up the smoky maple flavor.

Do I even need to suggest these are perfect alongside a cup of coffee?

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

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Vegan Espresso Cacao Date Shortbread

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  • Author: Annie
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 16 1x


Rich and “buttery” shortbread cookies have the classic flavor combination of coffee and chocolate. Dates add a touch of smoky chewiness.


  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 1 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup ground cacao, such as Choffy (or roughly chopped cacao nibs)
  • 2 tsp. finely ground coffee
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 1/4 finely chopped dates


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, vanilla powder, salt, cacao, and ground coffee. Carefully add this mixture to the bowl with the coconut oil and sugar and mix – then, with the mixer running on low, pour in the water. Add the chopped dates and process until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough that holds together. You may need to knead it a few times once you remove it from the bowl.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough to a generous 1/4″+ thick. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough as well to keep the rolling pin from sticking to it. You’ll be chilling the cookies prior to baking, but it’s easier to cut them when they’re soft.
  4. Using a 3-inch rectangular cookie cutter (or whatever shape you prefer), cut out cookies and carefully and gently move the pieces onto the baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork (or as I did, the flat end of a skewer), punch 2-3 times down the center on each of the cookies. Now place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. The cookies firm up very quickly.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325-degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Bake for about 25-27 minutes. The shortbread will get lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.


  • If you don’t like the taste of coconut, use refined coconut oil instead. Or, use vegan butter.

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan

Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread by An Unrefined Vegan 





37 thoughts on “Vegan Espresso Cacao Shortbread with Dates

  1. emmycooks

    That sounds like an amazing combination. I made a ton of espresso shortbread around the holidays, and loved it with vanilla and orange zest. I am going to have to check out Choffy–tho with the understanding that nothing will evr replace coffee for me. 🙂

    1. Shira

      Ha! I’m with Emmy on the coffee! The choffy does sound tasty though – and these cookies look amazing! I always like how your recipes are designed to make small amounts..keeping it fresh so you can keep cranking out the yummy vegan treats! Looks easy too, thanks Annie!

  2. pilgrimageofhealth

    I have all these ingredients, except I lent out my espresso powder, sad day 🙁 I’ve never heard of choffy, but I’ve definitely wondered if people ever do the same thing to cocoa beans as they do to coffee beans. Guess they do! So wonderful. Where do you purchase it?

  3. Somer

    I might actually have to make the 30 minute drive to whole foods to track down choffy now. I need it now!!! Those cookies look brilliant, and you make me feel better that I wasn’t the only one who used earth balance in the last 24 hours 😉

  4. Choc Chip Uru

    I love me some shortbread all the time though I confess I have yet to try a vegan version 😀
    But your recipe and choffy have no trouble convincing me 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Márcia Gonçalves

    Your shortbread looks so delicious !

    ” Choffy is roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed and you brew it like coffee.” Really ?! That’s amazing ! But I bet I can’t find choffy here in Portugal 🙁

  6. Sweet Posy Dreams

    I haven’t heard of choffy. Looks like something I would like to try. Probably not available in our town, but nice to know one can order it. The shortbread looks intriguing.

  7. biggsis

    LIttle Sis and I both received our Choffy from our Dad for Christmas – I saw the recipe and was very excited. Let’s see who makes it first… Oh wait! She’s coming to visit, maybe we’ll make it together!

  8. tearoomdelights

    Choffy is new to me too but sounds very interesting. Your shortbread looks lovely and I bet it slips down a treat with a hot mug of choffy. With all that chocolate flavour, how can you fail?

  9. Sophie33

    Waw, What a wonderful & alternative shortbread! I have never heard from Choffy before & Now, I leanred something new! Thank you so much! 😉

  10. Beth Pearce

    Thank you so much for this shortbread idea! I am a Choffy distributor and am always looking for new ways to use it. This is going to the top of my list!

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