Friday, January 25, 2013

Chocolate Bourbon Shortbread

I've never seen the point of shortbread.  Frankly, if I'm going to eat cookies, they'd better have chocolate in them.  Enter this recipe.  It's so rich, I make it about once a year, and it seems especially appropriate to make it in preparation for Valentine's Day.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 generous pinches kosher salt
3 sticks salted butter
1.25 cup granulated sugar
1.5 Tablespoon bourbon
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

It's a nasty day outside - lots of sleet, freezing rain, and the occasional flurry.  My plans to finally get all of us out of the house backfired, so I had my eldest assist me this morning. 

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  (Pam for Baking also works very well.)

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. (Don't skip this step as cocoa powder has a tendency to clump. Sifted dry ingredients = delightfully tender cookies.) Set aside.

3. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a mixer for 5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom as needed.  Most shortbread recipes call for the butter to be softened, but honestly, I use it out of the fridge and cream it with the sugar in my stand mixer.  The resulting dough is stiff enough to roll without refrigerating it.

4. Add the bourbon and mix for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides and add the rest of the flour mixture. Once incorporated mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

5. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on it. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. You can also lightly flour a work space with cocoa and powdered sugar, but I find my method easier. You may find the dough getting too soft. If it does, place it in the freezer for ten minutes to firm it up before you continue rolling or cutting. (The dough is very hard to work with when soft.) Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart.


6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Remove the pans and allow the cookies to cool completely before moving them.

 A warning: these cookies crack if you look at them wrong. Let them cool COMPLETELY before trying to move them.  Rolling them to 1/4 inch helps too, but using something with out sharp corners helps, too.  The first time I made them, I used a dove cookie cutter.  Fully 2/3s of my doves ended up headless. It reminded me of the duct-taped-headed parakeet from Dumb and Dumber.

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