April 15, 2010

Chocolate Orange Shortbreads

Filed under: Cookies, Uncategorized — Tags: — by Meredith


One of life’s little luxuries I enjoy the most is afternoon tea. There’s almost nothing better and it’s possibly the best part of being able to work at home. I might eat lunch on the run or at my desk, but I always make a concerted effort to sit down in the afternoon, when the house is quiet, before the kids come home, and have a cup of tea. And of course, what is a cup of tea without a cookie. And really, what is a cookie if it’s not chocolate.

This Chocolate Orange Shortbread, from The Mixer Bible, Second Edition is one I often turn to when I’m looking for a culinary Calgon moment. It’s rich, buttery goodness is ever so slightly cut by a bright note of orange, and the dough comes together so easily. For this recipe, we are making it in a mixer, but it could just as easily be done in a food processor or even by hand.

chocolate-shortbread-0121 Kitchen Counter Point- Although these cookies are great rolled out and cut into rounds, for a different twist, I also like to roll out the dough slightly and then press it into a small (I use a 7-1/2 inch), fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. It takes about 20 minutes to cook and I cut the cookies into wedges with a serrated knife when they are still slightly warm. You will need two tart pans for this recipe, or just keep one half of the dough chilled while the other is baking and then repeat the process. Make sure to thoroughly cool down your pan though before pressing the second batch of dough in. You don’t want to melt it before it gets in the oven.
Chocolate Orange Shortbreads

Makes 2 dozen cookies
1-1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven and. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Set aside.

In the mixer bowl, using the paddle, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Stop to scrape bowl down. Add in the orange zest and reduce the speed to low. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until well blended. Gather the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch. Cut into 2-inch circles and place 1-1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake shortbread for 5 minutes. Reverse sheets. Bake until shortbread looks dry and feels firm to touch, about 5 minutes longer. Cool on sheets for 1 minute. Remove to racks and cool completely.
Place the bittersweet chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Fit a pastry bag with 1/8-inch plain tips; spoon chocolate into the bag. Or, spoon chocolate into a small plastic bag (cut off 1 tip from each bag). Pipe chocolate
decoratively over cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in single layers between sheets of waxed paper.)

December 23, 2009

Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam

Filed under: Cookies, Desserts — by Carla



Along with the iced sugar cookies, rugulach, gingerbread and snowballs, these Bavarian treats yell “Look at me” on the cookie tray. The warm spices of cinnamon and clove pop with flavor, not to mention the fruity raspberry jam’s tart bite. They take a little time to make, but that’s part of what makes them special. Everyone who eats one knows that they are biting into something that was baked with love. I usually place them around the edges of the cookie tray because they really stand out with that snowy covering of powdered sugar. The dough freezes really well, so make as many as you want and then tuck the remaining dough away for another time. Not just for Christmas, they’d be pretty fabulous with a cup of coffee in January or February as well. Happy Holidays!



 Kitchen Counter Point: Rolling the dough between sheets of plastic means that you can re-roll the scraps over and over again. Rolling the dough in flour toughens it so you usually can’t re-roll scraps more than 1 or 2 times. It also helps to make cleaner cuts with no sticking if you dunk the cutter into flour once in a while. I like to use a decorative round cutter for the tops. It just makes them look a little more special. Just bake them separately from the solid rounds because they cook a little faster. To make the sugar topping look its best, use a strainer filled with powdered sugar to dust the tops of the cookies.


Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Additional powdered sugar

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Wisk to blend.

Beat the powdered sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and add the dry ingredients by the cupful. Stir in the almonds.

Divide the dough in half and roll it out to about 1/8-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Chill on a cookie sheet until firm, about 20 minutes. Cut out rounds with a 2-inch round cookie cutter and cut the center out of half the rounds with a 3/4-inch round cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more in the same manner.

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Bake on parchment lined sheet pans for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks and spread the rounds with raspberry jam. Top with a ring and sprinkle powdered sugar over all.