Saturday, 15 December 2007

Baking for Christmas

Since my previous experiment with shortbread, I've been looking for an excuse to bake another batch and try to make them a little crisper. I've finally found one in the Eat Christmas Cookies blog event hosted by Susan.

This time around, I've chosen to make a chocolate version studded with chocolate chips for everyone can use with an extra dose of chocolate over Christmas. Since I'm also serving this at a small party we've having where there'll be some kids, I figured the extra dose of chocolate would make this cookie more kid-friendly.

Although this recipe also uses rice flour (similar to the corn flour used in the last one), the proportion of rice flour to regular flour is much less which makes the resulting cookie slightly crisper - just what I was looking for. Additionally, the baked cookies slice easily into clean pieces as long as you do it while its still warm. The only difficult thing is deciding how big or small to make each piece. I know which way I'm going at my party - large, hearty pieces that could be a meal in and of themselves! After all, it just wouldn't be the same without a little bit (or a lot of) overindulgence during the holidays.

Intensely Chocolate Shortbread
From ChocolateChocolate

2 3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups plus 3 tbsp confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp granulated sugar, for sprinkling on the baked shortbread

Preheat the oven to 325F. Have 2 fluted 8 1/2-inch round tart pans (each 1 inch deep, with a removable bottom) at hand.

Sift the all-purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on moderately low speed for 2 minutes. Blend in the vanilla extract. On low speed, blend in half of the sifted dry ingredients, a little at a time, then the chocolate chips. Blend in the remaining sifted mixture, mixing until the particles of flour are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the dough even-textured.

Divide the dough in half. Place half of the dough in the tart pan and press it into an even layer with your fingertips; repeat with the remaining dough. Prick each shortbread dough round with the tines of fork in 12 to 15 random places.

Bake the shortbreads in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until firm and set. Remove the shortbreads from the oven to cooling racks and immediately sprinkle the surface of each with granulated sugar. Cool for 15 minutes.

Carefully unmold each shortbread, keeping it on the base. cut into 10 triangular shaped pieces while still warm, using a serrated knife or chef's knife; cool. Or, cool completely and break the shortbread into rough pieces. Store in an airtight tin.

Makes 2 8-inch cookies, creating 10 pieces each


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi Caroline,
Yes, these are kid-friendly. Just make sure you save some for the adults before they get all gobbled up! Thanks for submitting a deliciously named delicious cookie! Cheers, Susan

Deborah said...

These sound delicious! What a great treat to bake for Christmas!