Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Chocolate, Pistachio, and Orange Shortbread

My Recipe|Luke Chavez

After having baked and consumed countless cookie varieties over the years, I still consider a simple, buttery shortbread cookie to be my favorite. With the delicate balance between a tender crumb and a crisp bite, a perfect shortbread is unassumingly complex. Here chunks of bittersweet chocolate, crunchy pistachios and candied orange peel give an exciting twist to these delightful cookies. Lovely with a cup of tea after a big meal, or as part of large dessert buffet, these shortbread cookies make a memorable treat.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1 teaspoon Kosher salt)

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

½ cup candied orange peel, roughly chopped

½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Using an electric hand-mixer, beat at medium-high speed until mixture fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the egg yolk and blend until combined.

Reduce speed of mixer to low and add the flour in small batches until just combined. Use the rubber spatula to scrape any dried bits from the sides and blend into the dough. Dough will feel crumbly at this stage. Add the orange peel, pistachios, and chocolate, folding in with the spatula. If needed, use your hands to mix them fully and evenly into the dough.

Line an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with two sheets of plastic, alternating direction and leaving a generous amount of overhang on all four sides. Transfer the dough to the pan and use your hands to firmly press into an even, flat layer. Cover the top with plastic and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight, if possible, before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using the plastic overhang as handles, remove the dough from the pan and unwrap. Cut the square of dough into three equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle crosswise into cookies that are about 1/3 -inch thick (should yield about 48 total). Arrange cookies on the prepared baking sheets about ¾-inch apart. The dough is forgiving, so if it crumbles while cutting just use your fingers to press it back together. Bake until lightly golden on the bottoms but still blonde on the edges about 15 to 17 minutes. It can be helpful to rotate your pans halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven and allow cookies to completely cool on the sheets. Serve at room temperature. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Notes:

Candied orange peel can be found in the baking aisle of grocery stores, usually in the same area as dried fruits and nuts. If you are feeling adventurous you can also make your own with simply oranges, water and sugar. Search online for good recipes.

Instead of pistachios you could try walnuts or even hazelnuts. Look for a good quality bittersweet chocolate bar. One bar is usually 4 ounces.

You could bake one rectangle of the dough (about 16 cookies) at a time and freeze the rest for later. Make sure to wrap the dough airtight if freezing and use within 2 months. Shortbread cookies often taste better a day after baking, as long as they are stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

 

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