Monday, December 23, 2013

Short and Sweet

Yuletide greetings!
It's Tuesday night, December 23. Christmas CD supply abundant. Tree fragrant. Outside lights twinkling. Baking done. Shopping mostly done. Cooking...well, it will be done. Wrapping...not even close.
So this post is short and sweet.

Here's the short part:
One of the winter cards from the beautiful Wildwood Tarot. In the Hooded Man (aka the Hermit) I especially love the wreath on what looks like a hobbit door, and the holly leaves and berries on his cloak.

And here's the sweet part:
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

All my Christmas cookies recipes are sized to use a pound of butter. No use making a piddly number of cookies, right? But it's happy being halved if that seems more reasonable to you.
Makes 64 thick wedges. Keeps for weeks in a tin.
Oven 350 F; baking sheets lined with parchment paper

In a mixer: (can also be done by hand or in a food processor)
It doesn't seem to matter if the butter and sugar get creamed together first, or the dry stuff goes in first and the butter gets mixed in last. Your choice - I've done it both ways.

1 lb. salted butter at room temp
1 c brown sugar

3 1/2 c flour (I use unbleached all-purpose)
1 c unsweetened cocoa (not cocoa drink mix) I use Fry's
1/2 tsp salt

Last in:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate bar, melted (not icky baking chocolate; something you're happy to eat by itself)

Mix it up. Divide it into 8 pieces. Refrigerate for a few hours or a few days, or use right away. Pat them to a circle about 3/4 inch thick on the parchment-covered cookies sheets, cut into 8 wedges but don't separate them yet, poke some holes in it with a fork. I put four circles on one cookie sheet.

Bake for 17 minutes, turn the trays. If you're making the whole recipe, you can put a tray on top and bottom oven racks. Switch top to bottom and turn.
Bake 17 more minutes.
Recut the wedges and separate them on the cookie sheets so the edges have a chance to firm up. Be gentle when they're still hot; they're a bit soft and fragile.
Cool on the sheets. Pack into tins when completely cool.

Their flavours mingle nicely in the tins.

Happy holidays!