Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread

I found a way to make my Espresso Shortbread cookies even better — Dip them in Dark Belgian chocolate!

I know this isn't that genius of an idea since chocolate makes just about anything and everything better, but these cookies really are extra special. They were among six kinds of cookies I made for a recent special coffee hour at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and they were the first to disappear, by a mile.

The best thing though is that they are a breeze to make using the "icebox cookie" method of rolling the dough into logs, chilling and then slicing the cookies for baking.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread

Espresso Shortbread
(makes about 5 dozen)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup raw sugar, optional (for rolling the cookies in before baking)

Cream together the butter, espresso powder, vanilla, sea salt and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the flour and mix until combined.

Divide the dough into thirds. Wrap each third in a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log about 1.5 inches in diameter. If you are having trouble shaping the logs, just do your best and then let the dough chill for 30 minutes to firm up — then re-roll and re-shape the logs. Let the logs chill for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If desired, roll the logs in raw sugar (I do this extra step because I like the crunch and look that the sugar gives the cookies), and cut 1/4-inch thick rounds from the logs. Place the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 2-inches of space between them. Bake for 18 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the edges and set. Let the cookies cool completely before dipping.

Dipping the Cookies:
10 oz. dark chocolate, divided (I like Callebaut brand Belgian chocolate best)

First off, have your cookies at hand, ready to dip and a counter or sheetpans lined with parchement paper before you prepare the chocolate. You have to have a place to set your cookies after dipping.

Place 8 oz. of the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. You need to use a bowl that adequately holds the chocolate but is small enough so that the chocolate isn't too spread out. You need depth for the dipping.

Microwave the chocolate in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring after each until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Immediately add the remaining 2 oz. of chocolate and stir until it's also thoroughly melted. This is called the seeding method and is a simple way to temper the chocolate.

Dip a cookie about 1/3 into the melted chocolate and give it a gentle shake to remove any excess. Place the cookie on parchment and keep working quickly until all the cookies have been dipped. Leave the cookies on the parchment until the chocolate is completely set.

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