Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate and Toasted Almonds

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I started out the year making several nice lean dishes but I've been craving cookies.  And I love shortbread.  And I love trying new flavors of shortbread.  These are actually an adaptation of a Bon Appetit clipping from a couple of years ago, I think.  So ... these aren't exactly lean, but they don't have a lot of sugar in them.  How much butter, you ask?  And I reply, "they have very little sugar in them."  Butter or no, they are delicious!

Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate and Toasted Almonds

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons grated orange zest, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan.  Blend flour, sugar and salt in a processor.  Add butter, 2 tablespoons of orange zest and the vanilla; process just until blended and dough goes from this ...

to this, forming clumps ...

Press dough into buttered pan, spreading evenly.  A wooden toothpick is a good tool to test the thickness and help you even out the dough.  Pierce dough all over with a fork, then using a sharp knife cut into 12 squares.  Cut each square in half diagonally resulting in 24 triangles.

Bake shortbread about 45 minutes until firm, golden brown, and crisp around the edges.  Remove from oven and immediately recut along the same lines.  Place pan on a wire rack to let cookies completely cool.  Remove cookes and place back on the wire rack or on waxed paper.

Toast almonds and mix with remaining tablespoon of orange zest.  Set aside.

I wish I had a nickel for every pan of nuts I've lost to the toasting process.  Perhaps I get distracted too easily.  It was close this time ...

Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl placed over a pan of hot, simmering water.  Using a fork or the back of a spoon drizzle chocolate over cookies.  Sprinkle with almond and zest mixture.

Allow chocolate time to harden. then enjoy.  Or depending on how strong that cookie craving is, just enjoy while the chocolate is still soft and gooey!

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