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Chocolate Mint Shortbreads Tested Recipe

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Chocolate Mint Shortbreads Recipe

Chocolate Mint Shortbreads take two buttery and crisp chocolate shortbreads and sandwich them together with a smooth and creamy dark chocolate ganache that has been flavored with pure peppermint extract. I really like the contrast of flavors in these cookies - how the mint's cool yet warming sweet flavor pairs with the chocolate's strong, slightly bitter flavor. You will find that when you first assemble these sandwich cookies the flavors of the chocolate shortbreads and chocolate mint ganache remain separate. Yet after being stored a day or two the mint flavor starts to permeate into the chocolate shortbreads to make one delicious tasting sandwich cookie that is perfect for the Christmas season

Chocolate shortbreads, like all shortbreads, have butter as their main ingredient. Therefore it is important to use the best unsalted butter you can afford. I prefer using unsalted butter as the salt in 'salted' butter can overpower its sweet flavor and can also mask any odors the butter may have absorbed in storage. Besides butter, vanilla extract and cocoa powder also share the stage in these cookies. Buying vanilla extract can be a challenge as there are so many choices. The first thing to do is to make sure that it is labeled "pure". Stay away from the ones labeled "imitation" vanilla extracts as they are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter aftertaste. Lastly, the cocoa powder. There are two types of cocoa powder, Dutch-processed and unsweetened "natural" cocoa powder. We are using unsweetened cocoa powder in these cookies because of its strong deep chocolate flavor which pairs so well with the mint flavored Ganache. The chocolate shortbread dough is made with the creaming method, that is, cream the butter with the sugar, then beat in the vanilla extract, and the flour/cocoa powder. Once the dough is made it is divided in half, each half is formed into a log shape, refrigerated until chilled, and then you slice and bake the cookies. This is the same method used for Refrigerator or Icebox Cookies. If desired, the dough can be frozen for a few months which is ideal if these cookies are going to be part of your Christmas baking.

Once the chocolate shortbreads are baked and cooled, a ganache is made with semi sweet chocolate and cream with a little pure peppermint extract added for flavor. Ganache is made simply by heating the cream to boiling and then adding it to chopped chocolate. The two ingredients are stirred together, along with the extract, and left to cool and thicken. Once thick enough to spread, you take two shortbreads and sandwich them together with a little ganache. These sandwich cookies can be stored at room temperature for several days.

 

Chocolate Shortbread: In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until a dough forms.

Divide the dough in half. Place each half of dough on a 14 inch (35 cm) length of parchment or wax paper. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped rectangle that is about 10 - 12 inches (25 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Then thoroughly wrap the shaped logs in the parchment or wax paper, twists the ends of the paper to seal the logs, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours, or up to three days. (The logs can also be frozen for about two months. If freezing, it is best to defrost the logs in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and baking.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a thin bladed knife, slice the logs into 1/4 to 1/2 inch (.5 to 1 cm) thick cookies. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until the cookies are dry and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Mint Ganache: Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes then stir to combine. Stir in the peppermint extract. Set aside to let the ganache completely cool and become thick enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

To Assemble Cookies:  Take one chocolate shortbread and spread a small tablespoon of the ganache on the flat side of the cookie. Top with a second shortbread, flat side down, and press gently so the ganache spreads to the edges of the sandwich cookie. Repeat with the remaining shortbread cookies.

Can be stored in a container at room temperature for several days.

Makes about 20 - 24 sandwich cookies.

Adapted From:

Davis, Piper & Jackson, Ellen. The Grand Central Baking Book. Ten Speed Press. Berkeley: 2009.

Chocolate Shortbreads:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Mint Ganache:

6 ounces (170 grams) semi sweet chocolate, chopped (or 1 cup (170 grams) chocolate chips)

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

 

 

 

 
 
     
 

 

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