Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread Cookies

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I’m slowly getting back into the kitchen this week. I haven’t made a dessert for us in awhile, and decided it was time to make one when I found Mr. Surly rummaging around the kitchen for something sweet. He’s used to having dessert around, since I’m supposed to be eating sugary delights, as per my doctor’s request. But with my new meds I have been constantly fatigued, the last thing I want to do is hang around the kitchen trying to bake. Since I really haven’t made anything in a (long) while, I forced myself to make a simple dessert. I chose this recipe because it required little prep time in the kitchen, with a break in between. I made the dough one day and baked the cookies the next day. I halved the recipe since there are just two of us and I don’t have much of an appetite. I chose to cut mine into bite-sized portions so they are easier for me to eat. These were good the day I made them, but even better the next. I had hoped they would be kinda crunchy and crisp, but these are soft. I don’t have any experience with shortbread so maybe that’s how they are supposed to be. They taste great and I feel that this halve recipe made the perfect amount of cookies. I think tonight I might serve them alongside some ice cream.

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread Cookies
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makes ~20 bite-sized cookies, depending on the size

½ Tbl (1 ½ tsp) instant espresso powder
½ Tbl (1 ½ tsp) boiling water
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c confectioners' sugar
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c flour
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or ~ ¼c + 2 Tbl mini chocolate chips)

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid (I just put water in a small ramekin, microwaved for 20 sec, then stirred in the espresso).

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour, mixing only until it is just incorporated (don’t work the dough much once the flour disappears).

Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.

Using the spatula, transfer the dough (which at this point is soft and sticky) to a quart-sized ziploc bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into rectangle that’s ¼ inch thick (it will fill up the bag). As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat.
Remove dough from bag; I cut the top of the bag at the side seams, and just peeled the bag off the dough. Cut cookies into desired shape/size, I used a 1” circular cookie cutter.

Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet (I’m not sure the purpose of this pricking, I did it, but I might omit it next time I make these).

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
If desired, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot (I did this; I need the extra calories). Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. Store in airtight container.

source: Life’s too short not to eat dessert first

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