Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Shoutout to Shortbread

Alright, here it is.  This is the recipe that all you lovelies out there have been waiting for.  All of you who love to eat, but maybe don't have the crazy ingredients, or equipment, or TIME to spend on one of my more intensive desserts -- I haven't forgotten about you!  Everyone deserves something scrumptious no matter what.


This, my dears, is easy.  So easy that, in spite of being a cookie recipe, it is something that I have NEVER messed up.

You may or may not know this, but. . .  cookies are my Achilles tendon.  Yes, I know -- they are supposed to be the childs play of baking.  But they are not. Sneaky little buggers -- they never ever ever turn out for me.  Too hard. . . or too crumbly. . . or just. . .BLAH.

But not these.  These are scrum-dilly-uptious.  And foolproof.  Did I mention that? It's the most important part.

First -- everyone should have these ingredients readily available.

Not anything fancy -- just plain white granulated. 

Again nothing fancy, although if you're going to use that gorgeous fatty Irish farmfresh block, I won't stop you!

Again, just plain.old.white.flour.

 Kosher salt 
And if you don't have this, regular old Morton's umbrella girl is fine -- just go by weight and not volume.

Vanilla extract 
But do us all a favor and use REAL vanilla extract -- not that imitation stuff. 

an Orange 

Maple syrup 
It's the season of pancakes, so you should have some around. 

Milk chocolate 
And I will go against all -- and I mean ALL- pastry wisdom and say Hershey's chips are just fine.

 And Heavy cream

If you are super fancy, you can put some espresso powder in -- BUT DON'T FREAK OUT.  It's not absolutely necessary if you don't have it! 

If you are super-duper fancy and have a kitchen scale, you may notice something neat in the recipe below.  That's right, it's one, two, three by weight.  One part sugar, two parts butter, three parts flour for the shortbread.  And one part ganache, one part heavy cream for the filling! (See this is the real secret of baking -- the fancier you appear to the outside world, the easier everything really becomes.  Shhhhhh. . .don't tell anyone.  Just get a kitchen scale.)

Bravetart Milk Chocolate Ganache

  • 24 oz or 3 cups Milk Chocolate (chopped or chips)
  • 24 oz or 3 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
Cooking Directions
  1. Place the chocolate in a stainless steel mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the heavy cream with the maple syrup and espresso syrup and bring to a gentle boil over low heat.
  3. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk briskly until thick and completely combined.
  4. Refrigerate covered (so that the wrap touches the chocolate mixture) overnight.
  5. Whip at high speed until fluffy. Be sure not to overwhip, as the frosting will separate and cannot be recovered. It should only take a few minutes at the most, so watch closely.
  6. The frosting will be soft. You can refrigerate to firm it up a bit if you want to pipe. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or frozen for up to three months.

Bouchon Shortbread

  • 90 g (1/2 cup) Sugar
  • 180 g (1 stick and 6 1/2 tbsp) Butter, room temp
  • 270 g (2 cups) Flour
  • 2g (1/2 tsp) Kosher Salt
  • 6 g (1 tsp) Vanilla Extract
  • Zest from 1 Orange
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream butter until smooth in a mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add in sugar and cream until fluffy -- 5 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and salt while mixer is running on low and mix for 30 seconds until combined.
  4. Add in the orange zest and pulse to mix.
  5. Add flour in two parts while mixer running on low, waiting until first part is incorporated before adding the second part
  6. Spread plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough out onto the wrap.
  7. Mold into a square shape, approximately 5 inches on each side.
  8. Fold the plastic wrap over the dough and straighten out the sides with your hands.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Dough can be frozen for up to a month. If frozen, defrost overnight in refrigerator and leave out on counter until just soft enough to manipulate.
  10. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  11. Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap to a 9 inch square. The plastic wraps help to manipulate the dough without it sticking.
  12. Trim the sides so that you have a square.
  13. Cut into strips, vertically, and horizontally, so that you have multiple small squares of shortbread dough.
  14. Transfer onto the parchment, leaving a small space between each cookie. They will not spread much.
  15. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  16. Set aside to cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or so or frozen for up to 6 months.


For real, when rolling out this dough, do it between two sheets of plastic wrap.  It makes things so easy, and the dough doesn't stick! This is one of the reasons that I hate cookies.  The dough sticks. to. everything.  Everything! Ugh.  But it's okay, this dough is super easy to handle.

Especially with that plastic trick.  

Do it.

When your dough is around the right size,
trim the edges.  It's never going to be perfect, so
don't try to roll it out that way.  Much easier to cut to size.
When it comes time to cut the shortbread cookies, just use a knife.  The dough is still a little too soft to make cutters an act of anything but masochism.  Trust me -- I've done it both ways.

The cookies can be placed very close to each other.  They barely spread at all in the oven.

When the cookies are done, match them up two at a time.  It's inevitable (at least if you're anything like me) that your cookies will all be slightly different sizes.  Match them up as well as you can.  But do it in advance.  Otherwise, you'll be left with a humongous one to pair up with a mini-me. Pipe the ganache in if you can -- it's cleaner.  But if you don't have a piping bag, feel free to just use two spoons and scoop a bit onto each shortbread.

Okay, now I have to get super decorative -- or . . .extra? Isn't that what the kids are saying now? #cluelessandold
 I can't help myself. . . 
with the terminology or the decorations. . . 

Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top for some dimension, and if you just happen to have some gold powder lying around. . . well, you should of course use it!! A little on the tips of your finger, blown veeeery gently into the air. . . wait for it to settle. . . and then!


(Please someone try this recipe -- I guarantee it's very doable, and you will be so very very happy.)