Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Shortbread Ever

I had mentioned given a sneak peek of this shortbread in an earlier post, and it was so good that I ended up making it three times in one week. First, as a favor for a coworker. Second time, it was to make it in the traditional fashion (no cut out shapes) and to bring a little something for Camie and her husband James. But really, I think Andrew and I ended up eating most of that batch. Third time, I made it for my office's monthly potluck and saved some of it to serve for dessert later on in the week. The thing I love about this recipe is that it has just a few ingredients and is so easy to make. I love it when things come together like that. And seriously, when you taste this shortbread, you'll think to yourself, "Why do I waste my time making fancy, elaborate desserts when something so simple tastes so good." Just clean, delicious flavor without too much going on to distract from it.
So where did I get this wonderful recipe? For those who follow food blogs, it'll come as no surprise that it's a Smitten Kitchen recipe (originally by Alice Medrich). As its original name suggests, it's a twice baked shortbread recipe but I added my own twist by adding chocolate. Which is weird coming from the girl who doesn't like too much chocolate in her desserts. I think this shortbread would still taste fabulous on its own, but having the mini chocolate chips added a little something that helped you appreciate the buttery, vanilla-y goodness of the shorbread in contrast. I think regular chocolate chips would be too much chocolate but mini sized, perfect.

Onto the ingredients:

Chocolate Chip Shortbread


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the scrapings from half a vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon salt or a couple pinches of flaky maldon (Kosher salt worked well for me)
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
Turbinado, Demerara or granulated sugar for sprinkling (Plain ole granulated for me)
1/4 bag of mini chocolate chips (probably around 1/2 cup), I just poured it in directly from the bag

Smitten Kitchen recommends a baking pan with a removable bottom, such as a 9 1/2-inch round or a 4 by 14-inch rectangular fluted tart pan, or a one-piece 8-inch square pan. I went with the 8-inch square pan and it worked out really well, espcially when I lined it with foil (with enough extra foil all around to hang over the edges)

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla of your choice, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Pat and spread the dough evenly in the pan. Let rest for at least 2 hours, or overnight (no need to refrigerate). Note: I made the recipe without resting and resting the dough, and honestly couldn't tell the difference in texture. So if you're impatient, go ahead and bake the dough right away.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

My own step - I sprinkled the sugar on top before putting the pan in the oven. That way, I could tilt the pan to ensure an even coating of sugar and get rid of the excess:

Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with sugar. (I did this earlier) Let the shortbread cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the shortbread from the pan, being careful to avoid breaking it. Use a thin sharp knife to cut it into oblong “fingers”, wedges, or squares (I was pretty proud of how evenly I cut it):

First time out of the oven, the shortbread is still pretty colorless with a touch of brown around the edges. Place the pieces slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack once they're out of the oven, and try to resist the urge to eat every single piece (without sharing with your husband) in one sitting!


Foley Monster and Pocket said...

These look very yummy. Do you have any bread for short dogs?

fabulousmrsg said...

I see myself eating these in the near future! They look divine, I might have to try and make a batch this weekend!