December 16, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies )

On Thursday I gave you a cookie for the children in your life (big and small).  Today's a cookie for the adults.  

It's the kind of cookie you could serve to Great Aunt Myrtle alongside tea.  

Unless Great Aunt Myrtle can't handle her caffeine and gets all hyper and shouts out inappropriate words during Pictionary and then starts reminiscing about the time she spent as a burlesque dancer.

In which case, double win for you.  You can cancel that bouncy house.  Entertainment for these festivities is SET.

These little fellows are crisp, crumbly, and insistently (though not overwhelmingly) coffee-flavored.  This is accomplished with espresso powder, which may or may not be available at your local grocery store.  If not, you can find it at Williams-Sonoma or on Amazon.  It doesn't look like much, but recipes generally only call for a smidge, so you'll get a lot of mileage out of that little bottle.

Then they're dipped in smooth semisweet chocolate, which is a nice contrast to the sandy, pleasantly bitter cookie.  And for looks, it can't be beat.

You can, of course, cut these cookies in any shape that you like.  I wouldn't recommend going much larger, though, in case the coffee flavor got a bit overwhelming.  These are best as flavorful nibbles.  Besides, when you're cranking out holiday cookies 75 at a time, sometimes it's nice do be able to be done in one batch.

Leave 'em small and save your time for Pictionary prep.  This year's finally going to be your year.  Aunt Myrtle's going down.

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies
by Carolyn Weil
in Fine Cooking

Unsalted Butter  [ 1 cup, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces ]
Sugar  [ 1/2 cup ]
Salt  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Flour [ 2 1/4 cups ]
Espresso Powder  [ 2 tablespoons ]
Semisweet Chocolate  [ 9 ounces, chopped ]
Shortening  [ 1 tablespoon ]

1.   Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2.   Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
3.   In the bowl of a mixer, combine Butter, Sugar and Salt.
4.   Mix on Low speed 1-2 minutes.
5.   Add Flour and Espresso Powder.
6.   Mix on Low speed until Dough begins to pull together  [ about 3 minutes ].
7.   Lightly flour a large, flat surface.
8.   Roll Dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.
9.   Cut Dough with a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cutting with as little waste as possible.
10.   Press scraps together into a ball and re-roll, then cut more cookies.
11.   Place on baking sheets, keeping 1 inch between cookies.
12.   Refrigerate cookies until chilled  [ at least 20 minutes ].
13.   Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time until bottoms are golden but tops are just barely colored  [ 30 -60
            minutes ].
14.   Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

15.   When cookies are cooled, line a work surface with waxed paper.
16.   In a small heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring frequently, melt Chocolate and
17.   Dip half of each cookie in melted Chocolate Mixture, and place on waxed paper.  Allow to set
            completely before moving cookies.

Makes about 84 cookies. 

Can I tempt you with more coffee?
Accidentally Mocha Pudding

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