Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
I think that fall is finally arriving. The weather outside has been cooler – the kind of weather that people like to live in California for. Sunny, with a breeze – warm enough for short sleeves and jeans, but not swelteringly hot. It’s allowed me to crack open the oven and try baking a little bit again – I’m afraid I’ve been pretty anti-oven for the last several months due to the heat. I know, I know – just a few months ago, I kept complaining about how I sure would like the weather to warm up… and now I’m complaining that I want it to cool down. What can I say? I’m fickle.
But the timing for the weather cool-down couldn’t be better in another respect too – not only have I grown tired of the heat, but Mr. Man has suddenly taken an interest in Kitchen Chemistry – also known as bread baking. On the night we went to see District 9 (a movie I really, really didn’t like, btw – but I’m probably a cretin), we were left with a little time before the movie – so we browsed around in the nearby book store, and I had a chance to take a peak at The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. We only had a few minutes, so I didn’t end up buying it – but when I got home, I ordered it from Amazon, eagerly looking forward to reading it. When it arrived, I sat down to start reading it… And well, let’s just say Ladies? Don’t ask your Math-Geek husbands for help with your baking book unless you’re prepared to let him read the book first. I ask one little question about the math, and then suddenly, he’s read the whole book and takes over the kitchen to make bread. Don’t get me wrong – it’s really good bread. And I’m think it’d be awesome if Mr. Man spent more time in the kitchen with me. But I can’t help being a little disgruntled that I didn’t get to finish reading my book. And that he got to bake from it first. And that he will probably be better at baking bread than me – because he totally gets the math more than I do. And stuff. And things. meh.
But not too disgruntled. I mean – the bread was pretty darn awesome. We’ll probably do a post about it when he’s feeling a little more confident with his technique. Or when I finish reading the hundred and some pages on technique and get to making bread myself. Or something. Anyways – all of that was just a really long segue to talking about how it’s been cool enough to bake, and that I have been. I usually end up making desserts out of the fruit that I receive in my weekly FFTY box – I don’t often have an excuse for making something that is simply a sugary-confectionary delight. Miss Thing of course, complains mightily about this – having a preference for chocolate and such, but on Friday for the Diablo Valley Pagans Meet & Greet, I decided to get a little creative – and try making some chocolate dipped confections. I ended up making two different kinds – chocolate dipped shortbread, and chocolate dipped peanut butter sandwich crackers. Both of them turned out excellent – and hopefully I’ll be posting the crackers recipe for the Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers soon.
Initially I was a little skeptical about this recipe – I can honestly say that this is the first cookie recipe I’ve ever made that had cornstarch as an ingredient. But they ended up being quite lovely. Tender and golden. Firm enough to dip in the chocolate, but still soft in the middle. I can envision all sorts of variations on them in the future. I used the recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” – as a jumping off point, with a few small variations to make it my own. Mr. Man likes them dipped in milk – he says that the cookie would soak up the milk, and the chocolate would create a “cup” to hold the milk soaked cookie all together. I ended up running a little late when I was making these and didn’t end up tempering the chocolate before dipping – if you have the time and/or inclination, I highly recommend it, because otherwise the chocolate won’t really set up properly – but if you don’t, just keep them chilled and they’ll be fine. As I’ve mentioned before – when you’re making a recipe that only has a few ingredients – I highly recommend using the finest ingredients you can lay your hands on.
- 2 sticks Unsalted Butter; softened
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 and 1/2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 12 oz High Quality Dark Chocolate; cut in to chunks (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch and salt
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until combined
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla, scraping sides of bowl if neccessary, and beat until combined
- Stir in the Flour mixture, a little at a time, until combined. Dough will be sticky.
- Begin preheating the oven to 275°
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- Working quickly, take tablespoon size pieces of dough and roll in to balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm (if they’ve browned – you’ve probably overcooked them)
- Allow to cool completely on baking rack, then if desired prepare chocolate for dipping
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (Temper chocolate – if desired)
- Dip shortbread in the melted chocolate and set on waxed paper to set (if tempered – chocolate should set at room temperature – otherwise, refrigerate)