22 February 2011

Chocolate Marble Shortbread

After the truffle failure, I find myself with a bag full of pure cocoa powder and a deep desire to use it. Should I put it on bread? Try making truffles again? Snort it direct from the source? While I try and find a dinner recipe to use it (cocoa rubbed pork tofu?), I might as well work it into my shortbread experiments. Except, thinking myself skilled at the shortbread, I made a larger-than-experiment batch.
There really is something grand about making shortbread; the many little things to tweak in the recipe, the simplicity of the ingredients, how awesome creamed butter is, and the smell it produces when baking. To keep this an experiment, even though the batch size was large, I only added two ingredients. Wait, that isn't an ingredient - aren't you only supposed to have one variable? Well, I added the aforementioned cocoa powder and a pinch of vanilla extract. You know, to get a chocolate and vanilla combo going on.
The only thing I would change in the process is my marbling/striping procedure. I had split each half (chocolate and plain) into 10 pieces and rolled each. I then alternated them on the work surface and rolled it together; despite this, they still mostly broke apart on the lines between dough types. Rolling both sides and not just the top may have helped; alternatively, I could have simply take the pieces, mashed them together, and rolled that out.

Chocolate Marble Shortbread
Makes ~15 bites, 30 minute prep (including freeze time), 20 minute bake

1/2 cup (8 tbsp) flour
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter
1/8 cup (2 tbsp) powdered sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter (stir it vigorously until it gets creamy). Add in the sugar, and cream again. Mix in the flour and stir until you are left with a bunch of clumps of flour. Add in the vanilla and stir again - it should now form a ball with the extra moisture. Separate the dough into two equal piles and add the cocoa powder to one. Mix with a spoon a bit, and then finish working the powder in evenly by hand.

Marble the dough as described above and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place, covered, in freezer and preheat oven to 350 degrees. After about 15 minutes in the freezer, remove the dough and indent it with a butter knife along the lines you want it to break. Place it in the oven for ~20 minutes, or a little longer if you want them extra crispy. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.

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