April 27, 2009

Salt & Pepper Cocoa Shortbreads

Baking by Dorie Greenspan is a marvelous cookbook I stumbled upon at Half Price Books in January. Without a job at the time and a fair(okay, large) amount of spare time on my hands, I knew I could make some seriously delicious things with this book, having experienced a few of its recipes at the hand of my talented friend Tori (rugelach, anyone?) while we still lived in Virginia. I didn't bake much during our 3 years away from Texas; a 45-minute commute meant long 12-hour days, and one school year of teaching seminary at 6 am meant we were lucky to make dinner a few times a week let alone create desserts.
I've only made three confections from this book so far, but two of the three have been divine. Including this one. A few notes: feel free to skip the fleur de sel and replace it with regular old salt. I did, and they tasted fine. However, now that I live 3 minutes from Central Market, I have some of the called-for stuff, and plan to use it next time I make these cookies. Which will be soon, because they are tasty. And addictive--they're so dainty, that eating 3 or even 8 doesn't seem like overdoing it.

Salt & Pepper Cocoa Shortbreads

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsley ground black pepper
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sift the flour and cocoa together. Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-low speed until soft and smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until the butter is satiny. Add the yolk, salt, pepper and vanilla and beat until the mixture is once again smooth. Add the flour-cocoa mixture in 3 additions, beating on low speed only until each addition is incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it together. Divide it in half and roll each half into a log that is 1 to 11/4 inches thick and about 6 inches long. Once the logs are formed, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Position the racks in the oven to divide it into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Using a thin-bladed knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds and place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between the rounds.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the 7-minute mark; the cookies should feel reasonably firm to the touch. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.


Olivia said...

so when are you going to try the recipe on the cover of that cookbook? Be sure and invite me over when you do!

Alicia F. said...

Since you haven't blogged in a while, does that mean you and Ezra are starving? You must be cooking up something good!