If you've been following our recent dinners you probably know that Alex has a new obsession, shaved shortbread. It's a twist on a classic and it begins with a delicious shortbread cookie. As you read the recipe you'll notice we added a slightly unorthodox twist to the baking method, we cut out the cookies after baking, while they are still warm. I picked up this trick on the King Arthur Flour website. The cutter slices through easily and all of the little odd pieces are already baked and ready for snacking. This appealed to my sense of thrift since I don't mind eating the oddly shaped pieces and the re-rolled dough is never as good, no matter what people may tell you. This coffee white chocolate shortbread recipe makes excellent cookies, but if you want to take things one step further we've included instructions on how to shave the cooked shortbread as some of you have experienced at our recent guest chef dinners. We've also thrown in some ideas for variations because a recipe is only a starting point and it's important to follow the path wherever it leads you.
Coffee White Chocolate Shortbread
(all ingredients listed by weight)
100 grams blanched slivered almonds (or 100 grams of almond flour)
10 grams organic instant coffee
150 grams all purpose flour
160 grams unsalted butter, soft but not greasy
4 grams fine sea salt
75 grams light brown sugar
100 grams chopped white chocolate
Combine the almonds and coffee in a blender or food processor and grind to a powder. Whisk into the flour to blend thoroughly and set aside. Combine the sugar, butter and salt together into the bowl of a standing mixer. Use the paddle attachment to cream them together on medium low speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the white chocolate and mix on low to blend. Stop the mixer, add all of the flour mixture and mix on low to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 325°F
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper into a rough rectangle, approximately a ¼-inch thick. Transfer the cookie dough, on the parchment paper, to a sheet pan and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until they appear golden brown and cooked through. Immediately cut out shapes, using cookie cutters, and then let the cookies cool to room temperature. Eat when cool or grind into crumbs.
To Shave the Shortbread:
1 batch of coffee white chocolate shortbread, ground into crumbs
113 grams unsalted butter
Put the butter in a small pan and melt over medium low heat. Once the butter is melted, continue to cook, stirring gently, until the butter solids turn golden brown and release a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from heat. Put the shortbread crumbs into a blender. Drizzle the melted brown butter over the crumbs and puree until smooth. Put the puree into a pint-sized deli container and freeze for at least 4 hours. Remove from the container and use a mandoline to shave the frozen shortbread and create fine shards. Alternatively, freeze the shortbread puree in ice cube trays and shave the frozen cubes using a microplane grater.
Grind 10 grams of Earl Gray tea with the almonds instead of the coffee or substitute other teas.
Use citrus rinds, fresh, chopped ginger, or spices instead of the coffee.
Change the nuts and the fat: use pistachios and pistachio oil, hazelnuts and hazelnut oil…
Smoke the nuts and/or the butter.