Tag Archives: Shortbread

Salted Butter Skor Shortbread


Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread has been popping up all over social media during the past two months. These cookies have been monopolizing my instagram and twitter feeds. My favourite tweet was from @hyphenpfeifer, “Fake news that the Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread recipe makes 24 cookies bc you’ll eat a log-worth of dough.” I needed to see what all the fuss was about.
The first time I made them was New Year’s Eve. We had friends visiting and I baked them that afternoon to serve for dessert. They didn’t quite make it to the dessert table. We snacked on them all afternoon. I tucked the few leftover ones into the freezer and we had them for breakfast the next day. We all loved them even more, frozen.

These cookies are made with salted butter. It has long been thought that unsalted butter was the preferred butter for baking. The reasoning behind this had to do with the fact that salt is a preservative, and so unsalted butter was often fresher. This is not the case anymore and blind taste tests have shown that salted butter tastes more buttery, and has a riper, more full-blown flavour than unsalted butter. When butter is a key ingredient, as it is in shortbread, we want to really enhance its flavour, and salted butter does that. You can’t get the same effect from using unsalted butter and adding more salt to the recipe.

This is my twist on Alison’s cookie. I decided to swap out the chocolate chunks for chopped up Skor bars (Heath bars is you’re American). I thought the addition of toffee would take these cookies to a different place, for me, a very happy place! Because Skor Bars are covered in milk chocolate, I also added a handful of cocoa nibs to the dough. Their bitter note would work as a perfect counterbalance to the sweet Skor bars.
Both the toffee and the cocoa nibs added a fantastic little crunch to these cookies. I was thrilled with the results.

These are an extremely versatile cookie, perfect for all occasions. I am a firm believer that what you put out into the universe will come back to you. If you share these cookies you will reap all sorts of unexpected rewards.

Gift a bag to the staff at your hairdressing salon and sit back and luxuriate in the most amazing head massage during your shampoo.

Gift a bag to your noisy neighbour and listen as this,

is soon followed by blissful silence once they go into a sugar/carb coma from ingesting the cookies.

Mail off a package of these to your adult children and sit back and wait for the phone call, or at least a text telling you that they love you and that you’re the best mom ever. (I’m mailing these tomorrow morning so I’ll let you know if it works).

The hardest part about making these cookies is getting the dough to compact into a tight roll. I had to hand knead it, on the counter, for a few minutes before it came together. Divide the dough into 2 and roll each piece into a 2 inch diameter log. Wrap well in waxed paper and chill for several hours or even a few days. Brush logs with beaten egg and coat the logs in turbinado or demerara sugar. Then slice them into cookies.
A final tiny sprinkle of some coarse sea salt. Yes, more salt. Don’t be afraid.

Click here to print recipe for Salted Butter Skor Shortbread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

cookies and milk 2This is a tale of cookie evolution. These sweet beauties started off their short life as Cheddar Pistachio Biscuits. I had envisioned them as a little nibble to have with a glass of Prosecco over the holidays. I thought they would be similar to the Cheddar Biscuits I made a few years ago, which were met with rave reviews by my wine swilling  sipping girls weekend friends. I baked up a batch of the Cheddar Pistachio biscuits and was kind of horrified by the results. The orange cheddar clashed horribly with the green pistachios and offended my highly tuned sense of aesthetics. I could deal with the ghastly appearance if the flavours were good, but they just tasted so odd, because they were neither sweet or savoury, but rather a muddled in-between. It just confused the palate. With blessings by my tasting panel (husband and child #2), they got tossed.

Being December, I decided to wholeheartedly enmbrace the sweet route and make a pistachio shortbread cookie. And because December is all about excess, (we have January to practice our moderation skills after all!) I dipped these in melted bittersweet chocolate and rolled them in some finely chopped pistachios. The inspiration for this recipe came from a 2004 Bon Appetit recipe for hazelnut shortbread sticks. They rolled the dough into little fingers, baked and then dipped them. I sped the whole process up by turning these into slice and bake cookies.mise en placerolling logs of doughslicing cookiesdippingEach cookie is heavily studded with coarsely chopped pistachios, so that each bite delivers crunch. The final dunk into the bittersweet chocolate provides a perfect balance for the richness of these sweet and buttery cookies. cookies 625 sq

Click here to print the recipe for Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Shortbread.

cooling on rack 625 sq

 

Almond Berry Shortbread Torte

 

This post is wrong, so wrong, for many reasons.  I apologize.  In the first place, hot on the heels of 8 days of cookies, I should be coming to you with healthy and good for you recipes like cauliflower salad, in order to attone for the gluttony that preceeded. In the second place, this is not berry season, for goodness sake.  The berries in the supermarket now are pale and insipid and have had to travel many miles to get to me.  I am certainly creating a huge carbon footprint with this one, and for that, I apologize again.

However, in my defense, I had to make this cake or there would be hurt feelings in my house.  This is the cake my first born requests every year for his birthday.  It’s his favourite cake and it’s not his fault he was born in December.  Blame the mother. (we get blamed for everything else!!)  This year he is turning 21.  A very big birthday which deserves a very special cake.  And this cake, while perhaps off-season now, is nothing short of spectacular.

I found this recipe many years ago in Chatelaine magazine.  I make it twice a year now, once in September, for my husband’s birthday and once in December for my son.  Some traditions you just don’t mess with.

This is a simple cake to make, essentially you make 4 giant shortbread cookies and then layer them with whipped cream and berries.  Start with creaming the butter and sugar, add the egg yolks, then add cake and pastry flour and ground almonds.

The dough gets chilled for about 30 minutes, then divided into 4 and pressed into large discs.  The wonderful thing about this cake is that the layers can be pressed into shape by with your fingers and palms, just using a rolling pin at the end to smooth out the round.  Here is a video showing how to form the layers.

While the layers are baking, get the berries ready.  I found golden raspberries, red raspberries and strawberries in the supermarket that day.  Feel free to use whatever is in season, or looks good.  This is awesome with little wild blueberries in August.

While cake layers are cooling, whip the cream.  The original recipe called for adding a few tablespoons of icing sugar to the cream but I prefer the cream unsweetened.  You get enough sweetness from the cake layers and berries.

After slicing strawberries, assemble the cake.  To keep things tidy, cut 4 layers of waxed paper and lay around the edges of the cake plate.  Put a blob of whipped cream in the center to hold the cake in place so it does not slide across the plate when carrying it into the dining room (not that this ever happened to me!).  Spread 1/4 of the cream on the first layer.  I made an orderly boarder of strawberries and then dumped more berries, haphazardly in the middle.     Continue with 2 more layers and then finish the top layer, taking care to place the berries in a decorative fashion.

 

The cake should be made several hours in advance.  Leave it in the fridge for the layers to soften a bit, so cutting it will be easier.  It is not the prettiest cake when sliced, but it is the most delicious.

To print the recipe, click here.

Day Two: Toblerone Shortbread

On Day two of my holiday baking adventure, I made Toblerone Shortbread.  I got the idea for these cookies from  pastry chef Anna Olson.  She was preparing them on Cityline TV.  She made a basic shortbread and topped each one with a chunk of Toblerone.  I decided to kick it up a notch and mix chunks of Toblerone right into the dough.  Toblerone, for those of you who don’t know, is a triangular-shaped milk chocolate bar filled with honey and almond nougat.  I sometimes play games with myself and bake things I don’t really love, so I won’t eat too much of them.  I thought I was safe here.  I don’t really like honey and nougat, and lately my tastes have shifted to dark chocolate.

I bought 8 jumbo (400 gram size) bars and proceeded to chop them up.  As I was chopping I  took a small taste to see what we were dealing with here.  It had been a long time since I hed tried a Toblerone bar.  I let the chocolate melt in my mouth and then chewed the crunchy almond nougat.  Oh #&@!& !!!! I do like Toblerone!  Good thing I bought extra.

The recipe begins with creaming room temperature unsalted butter and icing sugar together.  Can I just take a moment here to tell you again how much I love my new beater blade!  Nothing makes me happier than when a product delivers as promised.   Every time I use this blade I wonder what took them so long to come up with this idea.  The beater blade is shaped like the regular paddle blade but it has little windshield wipers on the edges of the blade that scrape down the sides of the bowl for you. Mixing the dough is so much faster because you don’t have to stop the machine and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

I am all about saving time.  I have always thought it would be brilliant to be able to get a pedicure and have your teeth cleaned at the same time.  The hygenist could work up top in your mouth, and the esthetician could work down at your feet.  They wouldn’t get in each others way and it would be such a time saver.  I suggested it to my dentist and he looked at me like I was crazy.  If there are any dentists out there, I really think this would be a great way to increase your revenue.

Chop up the Toblerone bars.  Cream icing sugar and room temperature butter together.  Add sifted dry ingredients.  Add Toblerone .

I use an ice cream scoop to form the cookies.  That way, they are all the same size and they bake evenly.

It is not necessary to chill this dough before scooping and baking.  It is necessary to keep your mouth shut while scooping.  This dough is amazing raw.

Click here to print recipe for Toblerone Shortbread Cookies.

The baked cookies are tender, rich and crumbly, all you could ask for in a shortbread cookie.