Friday, November 25, 2005

Is My Sugar High Burning? - Spectacular Seasonal Shortbreads

Food blogging stars Jennifer, at the Domestic Goddess, and Alberto, at Il Forno combined forces this month to arrange a joint event of Sugar High Friday and Is My Blog Burning?. I guess that makes this month's cookie swap fall under the heading of Is My Sugar High Burning?

These shortbread cookies are crisp and crumbly. They are fairly thin, which creates a nice ratio of topping to biscuit. I really like crumbly shortbread and the use of cornstarch instead of part of the flour makes these quite crumbly. Keep an eye on them as they bake; their thinness can cause them to go from perfect to a bit overdone in a short preiod of time.
Some people loved the peppermint topping, which was very good, but I loved the chocolate covered espresso bean shortbreads. They had an extra coffee kick that only espresso beans can provide, but they're not overwhelming because of the chocolate. My chocolate covered espresso beans had a fairly thick dark chocolate coating. I personally wouldn't have minded even more coffee, but I think that having a bit more chocolate gives them a more widespread appeal.
You can't go wrong with shorbread around the holidays and you definately can't deny that these look gorgeous on a cookie plate. Easy to make and even easier to eat.

Seasonal Shortbreads
1 cup butter, cold and cut into a few large pieces
½ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 ¾ cups ap flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup each crushed peppermint sticks
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chocolate covered espresso beans

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9x13 inch sheet/jelly roll pan with parchment or aluminum foil.
Combine butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add flour, corstarch and vanilla and pulse until dough comes together into a ball.
Press into prepared baking sheet (dough should be about ¼ inch thick). It's ok if it doesn't go all the way into the corners of the pan. Spread peppermint sticks over half the batter and chocolate covered espresso beans over the other half. Press lightly but firmly into the dough.
Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, until light golden brown.
Cool for 5 minutes, then slice into small rectangles with a sharp knife. Let cool in pan.
Makes 36 cookies.