Salted caramel shortbread

Salted Caramel Shortbread Recipe

Salted caramel shortbread

  • Easy

Sweet and salty flavors are an ongoing trend and this shortbread recipe is the perfect way to blend these flavors. It’s quick and easy baking and will please a crowd.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter 300g  ( 10.5 oz)
  • Golden caster sugar 150g  (3/4 cup superfine baker’s sugar)
  • Plain flour 350g  (2 3/4 cup)
  • Rice flour 100g  ( I used all regular flour) 
  • Semi0sweet chocolate 150g, chopped  (6 oz)
  • Salt flakes for decoration

caramel

  • Golden caster sugar 100g   ( 1/2 cup superfine baker’s sugar)
  • Salt flakes

METHOD

  • STEP 1

    To make the caramel, heat the sugar in an even layer in a frying pan until it melts and then starts to bubble to a golden brown. Swirl the pan if you need to keep the melting and browning even. Add a good-sized pinch of salt flakes and tip the caramel onto an oiled baking sheet set on a wooden board. Cool and then break into chips with a rolling pin. ( I used a meat pounder to break up mine)

     

  • STEP 2

    Beat the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add all of the flours and a pinch of salt and beat to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured board, pat out gently and sprinkle with the caramel chips. Fold in half and then transfer to a 20 × 30cm (or similar) tin and push into an even layer. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.  ( This did not work so well for me, so I cut it in half, pushed the first half onto an 8 x 12 cake pan, added the broken caramel, then patted the second half on top. – Worked great! )

     

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas (350 ℉) 4. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, mark into fingers with a knife and then cool completely. Cut along the marked lines into pieces.  (I put a rack on top, flipped it out, then flipped it over with another rack.  Easy…  Used my biggest knife to cut right through)

     

  • STEP 4

    Heat the chocolate in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of water or microwave until it starts to melt, stir until smooth and take it off the heat. Lay the shortbreads next to each other with a tiny gap between them on a cooling rack and spoon over the chocolate in strips and it doesn’t have to be perfect. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with some salt flakes and then leave it to set. ( I used a piping tube to do it)

    short.jpg

    Here is what mine look like and they taste wonderful!

Salted caramel shortbread

Simple and Quick Chocolate Desert

Chocolate Truffle Torte

ch

With such few ingredients involved, the chocolate you use truly matters. Use a blend of  Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Guatemalan chocolate, but if you can’t get your hands on those, play around with a few of your other favorites to showcase the flavor profile you like best.

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

INGREDIENTS

15 ounces chocolate (65 to 80 percent cocoa), chopped

7 ounces butter, chopped

5 eggs

2 tablespoons water

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer).

3. Add the eggs and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Pour the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve (a minute or 2), swirling the pan to aid in even cooking.

5. With the mixer at low speed, stream the melted sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. When all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

6. Scrape the batter into the springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges look set but the center still looks shiny. Let cool before serving.

Simple and Quick Chocolate Desert

Chocolate Bark

IMG_7028

Last week I had some friend over for “Fondue” and to play “Cards Against Humanity”. So we drank wine, ate fondue and had a lovely evening.  I had served dried figs and dried apricots to dip in the fondue. (along with a lot of other stuff) One container of apricots had been in brandy for about a year.  I siphoned off the apricot brandy to try late.  My sweet husband drank it before I had a chance to try it.  He liked it.

But I had left over dried fruit and chocolate in my baking drawer, so I decided to make some very simple Chocolate Bark using what was left over.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely diced dried figs
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground allspice, coriander, cardamom, ginger, and aniseed
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 lb. dark chocolate in block or bar form (I had some milk chocolate, so added that into about 8 oz of 70% cocoa)
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup finely diced candied orange peel ( I used the left over dried apricots and some of the brandied apricots.)   

Nutritional Information

Preparation

  • Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment, and tape the parchment to the baking sheets. Put a piece of parchment on the counter, too. Have ready an instant-read thermometer.
  • In a small bowl, toss the figs with the spices. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer and sift out the excess spices; reserve for another use.

Melt and temper the chocolate

  • Finely chop 2 lb. of the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a 4-quart saucepan. Cut the other 1 lb. of chocolate into two pieces.
  • Fill the saucepan with about 2 inches of water (it should not touch the bowl). Bring the water to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, and put the bowl of chocolate over it. Gently stir the chocolate occasionally with a silicone spatula until it is fully melted and reaches between 115°F and 120°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the pot, wipe the bottom dry, and add one of the 1/2 lb. blocks of chocolate to the bowl. Constantly fold the solid chocolate with the melted chocolate; the solid chocolate will melt somewhat but not fully. Take the temperature of the chocolate now and then. When it drops to 95°F, after 4 to 5 minutes, take what’s left of the solid chocolate out of the bowl. Add the second block of chocolate and fold constantly. When the temperature drops to 90°F, take the block out. (The chocolate blocks can be reused for other recipes.) Gently stir the melted chocolate for 1 minute more.

Spread the chocolate, top, and cool

  • Divide the melted chocolate between the prepared baking sheets, and working quickly, spread it to about 1/4 inch thick with an offset spatula. Immediately sprinkle the figs, almonds, and orange peel over both sheets of warm chocolate, pressing down lightly.
  • Place in a cool (60°F to 65°F) room or refrigerate it for just 5 minutes to set. For best results, let the bark sit for 12 hours before breaking it into shards.

Tip

If your chocolate does not come in large blocks, use the biggest pieces you can, such as two 4-oz. bars in place of the 1/2-lb. chunk. The large size makes it easy to retrieve the unmelted chocolate once the melted chocolate is in temper.

And here is the Brandied Apricot Recipe just in case…

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g soft dried apricots
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5–6 star anise flowers
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cups (750ml) brandy

METHOD

  1. Layer the fruit and spices in sterilised jars and cover with brandy.
  2. Screw on the sterilised lids and leave to stand in a cool dark place for at least one month before serving.
    *Will last up to six months once opened.

Cook’s notes:

  1. Try preserving the apricots in gin, vodka or a fortified wine, such as white muscadel.
  2. Un-sulphured, dried, organic apricots give the best results, although they might be darker in colour than sulphured ones.
  3. Serve with cheese, in baked puddings or chopped up and stirred into thick cream, mascarpone or ice cream.
  4. Drain some apricots and dip them in melted dark chocolate for an after-dinner treat with coffee. You can even serve small nips of the leftover spiced brandy as a digestive after a meal.

This recipe makes ± 2 cups (500ml)

Chocolate Bark

Bergers – Style Cookies

IMG_6583

Bergers-Style Cookies

Saw this recipe in Cooks Country Big Thanksgiving Cookbook and since I have book group coming tonight, thought this might be fun to serve.  I probably should put some spider legs on them, since Halloween is right around the corner, but I think I will be civil and boring today.  But these cookies are mouth-watering relish!  I just had one with my coffee for breakfast!  Yummy!

The magazine has lots of interesting information, suggestions and the other recipes look good too. I might have to try the Dutch Apple Pie or the easy Fish & Chips.  When I make a pie and only eat one slice, I take it to my local fire station so it can be enjoyed and not thrown out.  They seem to look forward to the treats I drop by.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

This Baltimorean cookie has gained a cult following thanks to the 1/2-inch layer of fudgy chocolate frosting perched on its cakey, lightly sweet vanilla cookie base. For our version, we creamed butter with sugar and used cake flour instead of all-purpose to create a soft, fluffy cookie base. For the signature sweet-yet-ultrachocolaty frosting, a combination of milk chocolate chips and Dutch-processed cocoa gave us the best chocolate flavor; heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar helped us nail the correct texture. Keeping the frosting between 90 and 100 degrees (which makes it the texture of thick brownie batter) ensured that it was easy to mound a hefty 2-tablespoon helping onto each cookie.

Read More

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes 24 cookies ( I only got 16)

COOKIES

2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg white
1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

FROSTING

3 cups (18 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ⅔ cups (5 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

The consistency of the frosting should resemble that of a thick brownie batter. It should mound and slowly spread over the cookies. It’s OK if some of the frosting drips down the sides of the cookies. If the frosting’s temperature drops below 90 degrees, it may become too thick to spread. To bring it back to its proper consistency, simply microwave it at 50 percent power in 5-second intervals, whisking after each interval. Our favorite Dutch-processed cocoa powder is Droste Cocoa.

1. FOR THE COOKIES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl; set aside. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2. Add egg white, cream, and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions until incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed.

3. Working with 1 heaping tablespoon dough at a time, roll into balls and space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets, 12 per sheet. Using your moistened fingers, press dough balls to form disks about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are just beginning to brown around edges, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool completely on sheet.

4. FOR THE FROSTING: Once cookies have cooled, combine chocolate chips, cream, and salt in large bowl. Microwave chocolate mixture at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk cocoa, sugar, and vanilla into chocolate mixture until smooth. (Frosting should be texture of thick brownie batter and register about 95 degrees.)

5. Flip cookies on sheets. Spoon 2 tablespoons frosting over flat side of each cookie to form mound. Let cookies sit at room temperature until frosting is set, about 3 hours. Serve. (Cookies can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Bergers – Style Cookies

It’s more than just a cake

Claire and the Cake

Sometimes it is more than just making a cake. It is joy; it is pleasure, is the happiness of sharing time together and the fun of putting the fun decorations on a simple chocolate cake.  It is the pleasure of knowing young people at the office where my son works got to have a piece.  Actually the half that we sent into Nokia disappeared before 10 AM with email announcement or notice.  Guess they liked, but there is the notion that it is difficult not to like chocolate.

Claire, my four year old granddaughter has such a good time sticking the chocolate rolls into the frosting and sharing with dad, my son, when he came home.  For me, it her working so hard to mix the cake by hand, working the ingredients together and laughing throughout the entire process.

Joy is where you least expect it.   Baking a cake with a good friend is right up with the best things to do.  And I don’t even eat cake, but I do steal a little of the frosting…..

It’s more than just a cake

Why is baking a cake Relaxing

IMG_8982

Sometimes I wonder why stopping to bake a cake for no really good reason is calming and enjoyable.  In the middle of learning systems for real estate, learning lead systems and trying to respond to every email I received, it is just nice to take a little time and make a cake.

I eat Gluten-free, so I won’t even eat the cake, but I know my husband will like a little and now I can take the rest to my real estate office.  It is so much like summer it just seemed an Angel Food Cake with a little chocolate ganache and strawberries might be good for the soul.

Enjoy!

Why is baking a cake Relaxing