Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Coffee and chocolate can be quite an irresistible combination. I'm not really a coffee person and when I do drink coffee, I prefer it not too strong (not light either) and very milky. I can see all those coffee lovers (my husband included) wondering how such a concoction as I have described, could possible be called coffee. Well, everyone has their own preferences and that is mine.
Now I do like the coffee in ice-creams and other desserts as long as it isn't overpowering. I first saw these shortbread cookies posted at Smitten Kitchen and remember thinking I would like to make them. Then Manisha of Indian Food Rocks mentioned them again and I knew I wasn't postponing making them any longer.
This recipe is from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan and I have very slightly adapted her recipe. I used instant coffee powder instead of espresso powder and used milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate because my daughter loves shortbread and coffee and would have been disappointed with a less sweet version.
Dorie's recipe says 2 sticks of butter. Now 1 stick of butter works out as approximately 113gm but here I get butter either as 100gm or 500gm slabs!
Trying to add another 13 gm of butter to every 100gm of butter just doesn't seem worth the effort, so I used 2 slabs of butter which is equal to 200gm and I didn't think it made much of a difference.
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 tbsp hot water
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped (into small chunks) milk chocolate
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Dissolve the instant coffee powder in the water and keep aside to cool.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and powdered sugar till smooth, not light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla and dissolved coffee.
Turn down the mixer to low speed and add the flour and salt, mix only till the flour is incorporated into the dough. Overworking the dough is not a good idea as it affects the texture of the shortbread.
Now fold in the chocolate chunks with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Using the spatula, transfer the dough (it will be a bit sticky) into a large Ziploc bag. Leave the bag open, place on your work surface and slowly press out the dough with a rolling pin so it becomes a 9" by 10 1/2" rectangle about 1/4" thick.
Turn the bag to the other side as well, while rolling, and occasionally lift the bag from the dough to smooth out the creases. Take care to see no air pockets remain and gently press out any. Seal the Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least two hours or upto 2 days.
The longer the dough is chilled the easier the dough is to handle, and the better the cookies hold their shape when baked. So please make sure the dough chills for about 24 hours.
I got some not-so-perfect looking cookies the first time I made them as I chilled the dough only for 2 hours. I needed to make these cookies at a bit of a short notice and couldn't chill them any longer.
My daughter wanted these as her after school snack with milk; I also wanted to send some with my husband who was traveling out for a few days and gift some to a blogging foodie who had come down to Goa.
The next time I made them, I chilled them overnight.
When the dough has chilled enough, take it out. Place on a cutting surface and slit the Ziploc bag open. Take the chilled rectangle of dough out, and cut into 1 1/2" squares with a sharp knife after marking them out using a ruler.
Place the squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment (I just placed them on ungreased cookie sheets) and prick them well with a fork (I forgot to do this, but it didn't affect my cookies much).
Bake at 180C for 18 to 20 minutes till they look golden. The baking time needs to be judged well, as the dough is already a pale brown, or one might end up with slightly burnt shortbread squares that no one wants to eat! So keep a watch on them once they've baked for 15 minutes.
Dust the shortbread squares with powdered sugar while they're hot, if you prefer.
Cool on a rack. I forgot to count how many cookies I got, but there were quite a few. If you like coffee and chocolate these shortbread squares are most definitely for you.
Before I end this post, can anyone can identify the plant or flower in this picture?
I'm not going to help out by giving out clues either, because if I did everyone would know the answer and then it wouldn't be any fun guessing! Alright, I won't be a spoilsport. Let's just say that this plant is connected to the kitchen in some way.
Unfortunately there are no prizes for guessing this one, but the answer will be in my next post.