Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread
One immensely intriguing aspect of cooking for people is the matching of personalities and flavors... This whole business of trying to guess what flavors a given person will like is quite fascinating. Dutiful, mild mannered men with a passion for chocolate, stodgy WASPS at Wegman's adventurously diving into sushi... and then of course the brash thirty year old who cradles her oatmeal :-)
My favorite though, is the completely charming, well-behaved nineteen year old who wanted to try a new flavor of donut a day!!! I felt my arteries harden at the very suggestion. Shuddering delicately, I held the door open for her at Dunkin' Donuts and at the mothership Wegman's at Pittsford. While I couldn't bring myself to deep-fry at home, I wondered secretly, if I couldn't find a happy meeting ground. Something chocolatey, rich and sweet, that we all could enjoy...
Turned to the Joy Of Cooking series and sure enough, there was a recipe for Chocolate Shortbread. It met ALL our specifications, no small feat. It was loaded with chocolate, already putting it ahead of its competitors. It was NOT loaded with sugar, making me warm up to it even more! No eggs. The only change I made was to top with crushed pistachios, cashew nuts and cardamom. Time to embrace the inner desi!
Everybody LOVED it (though I say so myself). The recipe does not use baking soda or powder and all its richness comes from butter. But it is quite delicious, as shortbreads go and the nut topping endeared it to us even more. I was happy, to find a trans-fat-free, delicious treat. We ate it as a dessert and as a snack with tea, coffee and/or milk. We took it with us on a picnic - it held up quite well and was gone before we made it home!
Original Recipe from Joy of Cooking: All About Cookies
Why I try to read (and digest) more than one book at a time remains a mystery!
A thousand apologies for the delay in posting the recipe. Without further ado, here it is, modified from The Joy of Cooking: All about Cookies.
Heres what to do:
- Beat 1/2 pound (2 sticks) softened butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.
- Add 2 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate - I've added upto 4 ounces.
- Sift 1.5 cups flour and 1/2 cup cocoa over the melted chocolate / beaten butter mixture. (I used 1 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup amarant flour) Mix it all up nicely. Press dough into a 9x13 pan.
- Toast 1/2 cup mixed nuts. I used pistachio, cashew nuts and a couple pods green cardamom. Pulse till finely chopped or coarse. Press the chopped nut / cardamom mixture on top of the shortbread. A rolling pin makes quick work of this.
- Bake at 300 degrees F for about 40 mins. Test with a toothpick, the edges and nuts will appear lightly browned. Cut into bars and cool. Enjoy!
This one goes to Nags at "For the cook in me"! Show me your cookbooks!