Friday, December 21, 2007

Mocha Shortbread

I can't believe Christmas is here once again. Last year I was in HK with my family, jostling with the crowd and street shopping endlessly from one lane to the next. This year will be one spent quietly over dinner and drinks with friends in Sydney. Though of course I still wish my family and besties were by my side, I'm more than content for having friends here to spend my holidays with. Yep, they are the people who make time here fly just that little bit faster, not to mention sweeten it by making it so fun!

So, to wrap up the year, I wanted to do something special for them to just show them how much they mean to me. I'm kind of a emo-idiot, if you can call it that way. I get stuck often a time when trying to verbalize or show my emotions physically even though I want to, probably a result of a traditional Asian upbringing. Whatever it is,, I decided to do what I do best next - write & bake of course. :)

I ended up making two batches of cookies - one batch of candycane cookies (in my last post) that were probably cuter to look at than eat, and another batch of mocha shortbread. I just adore the texture of shortbread and how it starts off all crumbly and then melts so beautifully in your mouth. These shortbread fingers were all that and more - dark, chocolately and intensely flavoured with coffee; definitely one for the grown ups. There's just one catch: if you aren't the owner of an electric mixer like me, be prepared to get your heart rate up for a good workout. Even with all that dragonboat training, this was tough for me. LOL.
Hope you enjoy this. Happy Holidays! :)

Mocha Shortbread
Note: For this recipe, I reduced the flour to 2 cups and substituted 6 tbsps flour for 3 tbsps cornstarch since I didn't have any cornstarch on hand.
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour + 6 tbsps (or 3 tbsps cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure
vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (8 grams) instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly butter (or spray with Pam) a 15 x 10 inch (38 x 25 cm) baking pan.
In a small bowl, sift the confectioners sugar with the cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, sift the flour, salt (and cornstarch if you're using it) together. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about one minute). Add the sugar and cocoa mixture and beat until fully incorporated (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and espresso powder and beat until incorporated. Then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until the dough just comes together.
Spread the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and gently press the dough, with your fingertips or the back of a spoon, to form an even layer. Then, with a sharp knife, score the top of the shortbread into approximately 3 inch x 1 inch (7 x 2.54 cm) fingers. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the top is dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. While the shortbread is still warm, re-cut the shortbread into fingers. Cool completely before removing from pan.
Adapted from Joy of Baking


Robin said...

Looks delicious!

Cynthia said...

haha thanx! yeah it really was yummy! :) gotta watch the calories now though for my sis' upcoming wedding! heh