Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shortbread Holiday Cookies with a Twist

As I had another family holiday party to attend last night and was asked to bring dessert, I wanted to create something low-maintenance yet tasty.  Deciding to go with shortbread cookies, as they require just a few ingredients and can be spruced up with frosting and other sugar embellishments, I made two different types - one with dark chocolate and nonpareil dots and the other with chocolate and truffle salt.  Particularly excited about the latter, which was a lot more sophisticated, guests at the party were quite surprised by its pungent flavor that juxtaposed nicely with the sweetness and buttery texture of the cookie.  Here's the simple recipe, as seen in the pages of Saveur magazine.

Chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies (makes about 2 1/2 dozen)

12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 oz semisweet (or dark) chocolate melted
Multicolored nonpareils and/or truffle salt, to decorate

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy.  Add flour and salt; beat.  Transfer dough to a floured work surface, form into a disk and roll until 1/3" thick.  Using a 13/4" star cutter (I used a round cutter, as you can see), cut out cookies; transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced 2" apart.  Bake until brown, 6-8 minutes (or longer if needed). Cool properly and then dip the top of each cookie in the chocolate and then decorate with nonpareils and/or the truffle salt.  Chill until set.  

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