Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Small Batch of Bittersweet Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

What I did for The Kitchn's Bittersweet Chocolate Baking contest.

***

Bittersweet is having chocolate, but only an ounce. Bittersweet is just a little taste of tart and tang and sweet, but just a little to cut the bitter. Bittersweet is having a batch of shortbread, but only a small batch. Bittersweet is cookies that look like something you’d use to build a wall ... a sweet wall to keep the bitter, bitter world out. Okay, now I’m stretching. ;)

I wracked my brain for something bittersweet—my favorite brownie recipe (ATK’s classic brownies) uses bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, as does a chocolate white chocolate chunk coffee cookie recipe I love. Then there are chocolate hot pots or chocolate cakes for one, baked in soufflĂ© dishes. I could do something with beautiful plating or with a comforting taste ... I decided instead to do something that I thought might not get any air time but that I love to eat—shortbread. It’s not the prettiest shortbread I’ve ever made, but I didn’t want to priss it up too much. I also wanted something that was almost masculine, since it’s usually my guy friends who love bittersweet, where my gal friends go toward dark, or semi-sweet. Thus, I decided to forego the traditional wedge-shaped shortbread and just cube these up. And there ya go!

bittersweet shortbread
Chocolate buttah!

bittersweet shortbread
It looks like ice cream ... now I want ice cream!

bittersweet shortbread
Bagged.

bittersweet shortbread
Stacked.

bittersweet shortbread
Bite me!

Oh yeah—bittersweet is also dipping your shortbread in your coffee for a moment too long … rats. You can have your cookie and drink it, too!

Small Batch of Bittersweet Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread
Makes 16 little cookies—just double the recipe for more

Cream:
1 stick of unsalted room temperature butter with ¼ cup of powdered sugar

Mix in:
¼ tsp baking powder
1 oz melted, slightly cooled bittersweet chocolate*
1 Tbsp of cooled coffee sludge (half boiling water, half instant coffee or espresso)**
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Stir in, just to combine:
1 cup AP flour
¼ cup dried cranberries

If dough is sticky, mix in 1 to 2 Tbsp additional flour—dough should be tacky and soft.

*Going to try adding more for a more chocolatey flavor.
**Contemplating adding less, as it seems to be the dominant flavor before trying with added chocolate.


Form dough into a disk on parchment and let rest in fridge for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, add filling to sandwich bag and roll to ¼ inch thickness, rest in fridge for at least 1 hour (cool Dorie/ATK/Alton trick). While dough rests, place oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. If dough is bagged, cut bag off and cut dough into shapes. Gently prick dough with fork so that there are prick marks about an inch apart from each other to prevent possible buckling and shrinkage (because that can suck, unless you like buckling and shrinkage).

Place dough on parchment on cookie sheet, and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool before serving. If you’re feeling better about the world, dip cooled cookies in melted chocolate. Or just tease yourself and drizzle it on, maybe just dip half. Or use the melted chocolate as mortar for your brick wall.

4 comments:

Marvin said...

Since I'm such a coffee fiend in the morning, these would be perfect for me. I'll just make sure not to dip them for too long;)

Julie said...

Yeah, they're not like Chips Ahoy or Oreos where you have to soften them back to the point of edibility. ;) It's a recipe in progress, so if you make it, let me know how it turns out! =)

amy said...

Those are some classy looking cookies.

Julie said...

Amy, you really think so? I wanted them to look different from the standard round cookie or big plate-sized shortbread. =D I liked the look of them, but was afraid they looked too stark.