French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chocolate Espresso Shortcake

I made my first post to this group in September 2008. I could not imagine that there would still be recipes left to select almost two years later, but oh there were! And, finally, faster than I had actually imagined, especially for a day I thought would never come, I was choosing the recipe for this fabulous group.

Because I love, chocolate, coffee and shortbread, I thought there could be no better for selection for me than the Espresso Chocolate Shortbread (found on page 125). As I was looking over my blog, I remembered shortbread was the first recipe selected from the book - and the first throw-back I baked. So, what could be more perfect? Nothing. I loved the simplicity of the ingredient list for this recipe. I loved the ease with which the ingredients came together and ultimately I loved the flavor as well.

I knew that I would be choosing a cookie recipe because I love cookies. Generally easy to pull together and then you have a snacking dessert available to you. I debated a few of the remaining recipes in the side of the plate cookie section, but ultimately was drawn to the one that expressed so many of my loves - coffee - chocolate - shortbread. What could go wrong?

I lined the ingredients up for their beauty shot and set to mixing.
I had minor issues rolling out the dough. The batter is flecked with the small delicious pieces of bittersweet chocolate - chopped by the food processor because I chopped my chocolate - painstakingly by hand earlier and then lost it!

Ultimately, I feel I rolled the dough out too thin, but they worked. My only issue was that sometimes my dough would crack as I was trying to cut neat little squares. Speaking of that, I ask forgiveness in advance - straight lines and I are not the best of friends. It must be like that simple math gene. Mine is just slightly wonky - so despite using a straight-edged ruler, I still have (for the most part) rectangles, not squares.


And, apparently I have also lost my ability to read simple sentences because I misread the section about creating holes with the tines of a fork. Dorie said to prick the dough twice with the tines of a fork, ensuring that the tines completely pierced the dough. I read that to be pierce the dough two times with a fork tine. Not having any single or double-tined forks, I used a bamboo skewer to create two holes in my dough. Not a terminal error by any means, but definitely a stupid one!

None of my stupidity however, impacted these little darlings. They do mix divinely with a cup of coffee. They aren't too bad just by themselves - though they do lead one to desiring a beverage. All in all, I am quite pleased with my selection. A bit of time - but for the most part that is hands-off chilling time. And, the result is fine - very fine.


Esspresso Chocolate Shortbread
Cookies
Makes 32 cookies

I NEVER tire of the satisfying combination of espresso and chocolate and am always pleased when I think of another way to use it. Stirring some instant espresso into a classic shortbread dough and then adding bits of bittersweet chocolate transforms a traditional cookie into a modern treat with an edge.
If you’re new to making shortbread, take a look at the pointers on page 124.

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or ¾ cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature


2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large 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 add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9-x-10½ -inch rectangle that’s ¼ inch thick. 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.

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife cut the dough into 1½-inch squares. Transfer the squares 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.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale – they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

Variation: OATMEAL SPICE SHORTBREADS: omit the espresso, boiling water and chopped chocolate. Reduce the flour to 1½ cups, and whisk it together with 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Once the butter and confectioners’ sugar are well beaten, add the vanilla, then the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.


I made this variation as well. Mostly because I knew others would and as hostess I felt I should know what they were going to encounter. These mix together as easily as the espresso chocolate does - easier in fact - as there is no chocolate chopping involved.


However, they do not pack quite as much as a flavor punch as the others do. They are all right - certainly not a cookie to turn your back on - but also not one for which to cross the street. I think these might be improved with a simple cinnamon sugar dusting as they go into the oven, but I did not think of that until I after I made them plain.

36 comments:

Flourchild said...

Thank you for hosting this week and for the wonderful selection! My family and I loved the cookies. I used a cookies and cream candy bar in mine!
Your cookies look great!

Valerie said...

Donna, this recipe has surpassed the World Peace cookies! Thanks for making an excellent choice.

These were difficult to cut/slice without any breakage, but that just gave us more dough to sample. :)

Shandy said...

Great job hosting this week! You baked both shortbread cookies and they look yummy! Mine broke too when cutting and poking with fork tines.

Leslie said...

This was the best pick! We loved them so much. I think your cookies are great!

thewhimsicalcupcake said...

Kudos to making both. I wanted to make both but I decided on the one that would recieve the most 'wow' for my effort. Thanks a bunch for hosting and for choosing this great recipe!!

I cut my chocolate off of (what used to be a 10 lb) slab and I finally found a method that doesn't drive me batty. ;)

Mary said...

Thanks for hosting and for the great pick. I was unable to cut perfect straight lines too but I think they somehow taste better that way when they look homemade and rustic :).

cindy said...

Thanks for a great pick. I went with the oatmeal spice variation. Delicious!

natalia said...

Ciao Donna ! Thanks for your great selection ! It was a big hit here !

Heather said...

These were a great pick - thanks for hosting!

theunappreciatedbaker said...

These cookies were delicious - great choice!

Ann said...

I heard about your cookie recipe at "with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart" and just had to come over and check it out. Those look so good.

Joudie's Mood Food said...

These look so good. I dont like to drink coffee, but i like ot eat it..... Yumm!

LDH said...

Oh, did you pick a good one! Love these cookies and I love your blog! So nice stopping by and meeting you!

Kindly, ldh

Nichi said...

Great choice... I wish mine turned out better. I might have to try the oatmeal version!

Pamela said...

Thanks for a tasty recipe choice. Since I'm not a coffee drinker, I might have skipped these. I'm so glad I didn't. Loved 'em!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

these look amazing!! I can only imagine how good they must smell while baking. YUM!

Criollobylisa said...

Isn't it great that when we sometimes miss a step we still end up with a great end product! Glad you hung in there to see your turn come! Now, if we could only bottle that lovely cookie aroma...

cstewarts said...

Great choice, I loved them! Thanks for such a great choice.

dharmagirl said...

thank you for this delicious and simple selection!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

It's hard to beat a good shortbread, and yours look so delicious. Something went awry in my kitchen, alas.

Susan said...

Thanks for a wonderful choice! I loved these cookies. Both of your variations look delish!

stacey said...

Oh, a cinnamon sugar dusting does sound great for the oatmeal spice variation. Thanks for host(ess)ing! :) Excellent choice!

Judy said...

I have been wanting to make these cookies for quite awhile now, so thank you for choosing them. I shouldn't have waited so long, because they are addictive.

margot said...

Your cookies look terrific! I had been hoping these would get selected for a while and was happy to make them. I didn't notice the instruction about poking holes in them either and actually had to remove them from the oven to do it.

dorie said...

I'm delighted that you and so many other TWD bakers liked this cookies. I'm crazy about them and they're among my son Joshua's faves.

Two years as a TWD baker! WOW and CONGRATULATIONS!

Stephanie said...

Excellent selection! Thank you so much!

LinC said...

What is the "powder" listed in the ingredients list? Thanks.

Karen said...

Thanks for the fun pick! :) I liked these a lot!

Jess said...

Thanks for picking such a great cookie - one that combines my love of chocolate and coffee!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

great pick--these cookies are fantastic!

grace said...

These sound delicious! :)

Katrina said...

LOVED these cookies. Great pick. Oh so many possibilities with these. Thanks for hosting!

Mary said...

I'm so sorry I missed this week! Your cookies look lovely, like dominoes. They are on my list for Christmas baking.
:)

Kayte said...

Funny about the fork tines. I forgot completely about them until the last tray went into the oven...lack of attention to those kind of baking details occurs regularly around here, sad to say. I do not like chocolate or coffee (I think I am lacking the bean gene...LOL), but my guys were eating these hand over fist with requests for more, so I am thinking your pick was a very big hit here. Thanks! Your cookies look wonderful.

Jacque said...

Thanks for a great pick!

Jules Someone said...

Thank you for choosing this one! It's one of my absolute favorites, and I was glad to have an excuse to bake them again!