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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Looks like....Bittersweet Chocolate and Sea Salt Shortbread

My mind is in the gutter. 

David and I were invited to a BBQ on Saturday afternoon.  We awoke to a typical gray day with sprinkling rain and sighed.  Or rather, I sighed and headed for the kitchen to think up something to take to the BBQ.  I found the recipe, put the butter out to soften (but not ooze, see here for the dangers of that) and figured that chocolate would make even the most water-logged Alaskans feel better.

Now, I'm not a chocolate person, but if I'm going to have it I want it to be bittersweet and tempered with either heat or salt.  These cookies call for deep, dark chocolate mixed with sea salt--an irresistible combination.

After everything is combined, you'll roll each half of the dough out into a long cylinder.  Here's where the mind in the gutter comes in:
Yes, I am baking in my bathrobe.  And you don't?
I called David in and asked what he thought the dough looked like.  He thought an oosik, and brought out his walrus oosik (they sell them in lots of Alaska Native craft stores) to make a point:
Hmm.  Point well taken.
I thought it looked more like--ahem--something that I won't be photographing anytime soon.  Draw your own conclusions, as I don't want to put you off your food.

This recipe makes about fifty small cookies, enough for a crowd.  They practically beg for a cup of coffee or strong tea.  And wouldn't you know it, by dessert time at the BBQ the sun came out.  I believe there was cheering.

Chocolate and Sea Salt Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from A16 Food + Wine

1 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 60-70% cacao, chopped into small pieces
1 egg
1 tsp. good-quality vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. sea salt (my favorite is this one)

With either a hand or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for two minutes on medium speed, until pale and creamy.  Sift together the cocoa, baking powder and flour and add to the butter/sugar mixture in three batches with the mixer on low speed.

Add the chopped chocolate, vanilla and sea salt and mix until just combined.  At this stage, the dough looks a little like Coco Pebbles--don't worry.  Add in the egg and mix until just combined. 

Lightly flour a work surface.  Take half the dough and roll out into a long, even cylinder approximately one inch in diameter.  Repeat with the other half of the dough and wrap each separately in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the rolls for at least an hour, or until very firm.

While the dough is refrigerating, line two baking sheets with parchment.  When the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

After the dough is fully refrigerated, remove each roll from its plastic.  The dough is stiff and prone to crumbling, so use a large sharp knife for cutting into rounds.  Cut each roll into rounds approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Place the rounds on the baking sheets, keeping about one inch of space between them.  Bake for 15 or 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back midway through.  When done, the cookies will be cooked through but still soft. 

Cool the cookies on wire racks;  they will firm as they cool.

Makes approximately fifty cookies.  They store well overnight in an airtight container.


  1. I like the look of those cookies! Seems so perfect for a cup of coffee!

  2. These look delicious and your hesitant description was hilarious! I hope it wasn't too rainy for the BBQ!

  3. Yum, love shortbread. These look great!