Saturday, March 27, 2010

[Cookie 070] Mocha Shortbread

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I really like coffee. I am rather snobby about it. Some might call me a coffee snob, but I prefer the term "Overall Snob," because I am snobby about lots of things. Yeah, that's right, I said it. I embrace my snobitude. But I am particularly particular about coffee. I do not see the point in buying a cup of coffee if it's not going to be decent. I'll pay a higher price if it's going to be good, because I figure that it would be a bigger waste of money to buy a cheap cup of coffee even if it is more affordable. I'd rather go without it altogether--can you smell the snobbiness yet? And don't even get me started on Starbucks...

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Anyway, last week was Spring Break and I went Mexico. And I let random strangers do Tequila shots out of my belly button and flashed my boobies on TV and had Pina Coladas for breakfast (only one of those statements is true, and its the last one, thank you very much). It was beautiful and relaxing and warm and I got food poisoning and a tan, and had a great time. One problem: couldn't get a good cup of coffee to save my life. There was one little cafe owned by a Canadian dude that served a decent double Americano. I would have ordered a regular cup o joe except the owner could tell I was a coffee snob, and told me that if I really really liked coffee, I should go for the double Americano. Now, in New York I'd be a little scared to order that because 1) I am not the biggest Americano fan and 2) double shots tend to make me jump up and down and want to sprint up the entire length of Manhattan. This one, however, tasted like a regular cup of coffee. Hmm. Well, I drank it. The rest of the week we got our morning coffee from the Oxxo around the corner (that's an Am/Pm convenience store in American terms).

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Okay, so the coffee sucked. Not the biggest problem when every day of the week I was getting 10 hours of sleep, but still, I enjoy coffee even without its caffeine kick. That's why when I saw this recipe for Mocha Shortbread it really tickled my fancy. But it calls for instant espresso powder, and being on a college student budget, that meant buying some cheap-o espresso powder. In the end, I could barely taste the coffee flavor, even though the shortbread was generally good.

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I guess what I'm getting at is that if you really love your coffee, maybe you should add a little extra espresso powder to these guys. Or, you could follow the recipe and just dunk these shortbread wedges into a cup of super strong coffee and get your fix that way. That's what I did. No regrets baby, no regrets. There is nothing I like more than a super strong cup of coffee and a nice, sweet, chocolatey cookie to dip in it. I'm salivating right now, my apologies.

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What, you hate coffee? First off, get out. Go, get outta here, and don't let your laptop screen pinch your fingers on the way out. Ah, I'm kidddddding ma cherie! Let's just settle on knowing that you're crazy and I'm not. There, okay that's done with. If you don't like coffee, you could still probably enjoy these cookies, because as I said earlier, they aren't very strongly coffee flavored. You could also omit the coffee entirely and just make regular chocolate shortbread, but that's like eating pasta without any sauce, or toast without any butter or jam, or drinking a virgin margarita. What's the point, amiright?!!?

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Anyway, these cookies are good, but nothing to right home about. As I said, they'd be better if they were stronger (either darker chocolate or stronger coffee), but you can remedy it. They would make a great base to a fancier dessert, too--you could top them with homemade whipped cream and a strawberry compote, or drop a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top. Or you could make some Sunken Treasure Hot Chocolate/Coffee a la City Bakery (that's when you make some uber thick and decadent hot chocolate--or it could work fantastically with a cappuccino--and drop some secret cookies or toffee or ice cream into the bottom of the cup...it's amazing beyond amazing).

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So, in conclusion, take this recipe as a jumping off point to make something outlandish. If you come up with any wild ideas, please let me know, I'd love love love to hear them. In the meantime I'll go make another pot of coffee...and peruse this dangerous list.

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Mocha Shortbread
Makes 8 wedges

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line and 8-inch round cake or springform pan with parchment paper (I just buttered the pan, and that worked fine). Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir in coffee, and set aside.
  2. Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, and beat well. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.
  3. Pat dough evenly into the pan. Bake until firm, 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed at the edges and dark all over the top. Remove shortbread from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into 8 wedges. Let cool completely on rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving.
  4. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.

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{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 1/5 (Dead easy, seriously)
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 3/5
Attractiveness: 3.5/5
Is it worth it?: Look, you know what you're getting. You want chocolate shortbread with a hint of coffee? This is your recipe.

{Pairings}
Drink: A big mug of coffee, maybe with a little milk. No sugar needed if you're gonna dip the cookies in it (which is what you will do, trust me on this one).
Song: King of Spain -- The Tallest Man on Earth
Activity: Enjoying a cappuccino at Peet's Coffee and Tea back home in sunny sunny California

3 comments:

Becky said...

This is the first cookie you've made I would have to pass on -- don't like the coffee taste. Love your fun descriptions of your adventures, however!

Anaise said...

You write really, REALLY well. I hope you plan to go pro after college. (Or become an empire-leading chef, one or the other!)

Nakiya @ Taste of Baltimore said...

Sooooo, why do you hate Starbucks?

Also, I TOTALLY agree with Anaise. I always look forward to your posts!!!