Friday, January 14, 2011

Maple Chipotle Shortbread


Sometimes I need to bake in order to cheer up.  Today was definately one of those days.  Sometimes I feel like making something elaborate, taking out my aggression kneading a dough ball for bread, or making an elaborate cake, but I just needed something simple and good this time.  I had lost something very precious to me, and just was in need of cheering up.  When I can't think clearly something filled with ingredients probably is not the best idea.  This is why shortbread was the first thing that came to mind. 


Although I would have been very happy with a plain vanilla bean or chocolate variation, I felt the need to be creative and try something new.  As I stood with my cupboard open with all my spices and herbs in plain view, my eyes rested on the container of ground chipotle peppers.  I picked them up and couldn't put them down.  I had paired them with chocolate in the past and loved the result, but I was wondering how they would be in something light...say maple?  I love the combination in savory applications of maple and chipotle, and I figured it would be the perfect flavor base for my shortbread.   


So I took my vegan short bread base, and used maple sugar and extract to give it that wonderful deep caramelly maple flavor that I love and spiked the cookies with a bit of chipotle.  Honestly I wasn't sure how much exactly to use, because I know it can quickly overpower, but I wanted it to be present and have an after kick.  I also decided to stir in some red pepper flakes, simply because they are lovely and I wanted the dough to have red flecks throughout.  A little cinnamon and vanilla plus a good amount of sea salt was added to round out the flavor.  I sprinkled my shortbread with turbinado sugar for crunch before popping it in the oven and I only needed to wait 15 minutes (sans cooling time) before my creation was finished!  It smelled like french toast when it was baking, which made my hungry for that as well, but I would dive into the shortbread first!  When it was finally cool enough to dive in (which wasn't long, because I put it in the garage to cool faster), I picked up a piece, and thought to myself how nice and quick it was to make, admired the beauty of it, then took a rather large bite. 


It was wonderful...the sweet caramelly maple flavor with the afterburn of the pepper and the buttery texture of the cookie!  I forgot all about anything that was bothering me for the moment and went to my happy place.  I had quite a few more moments after because these are not something you can eat just one of and when I need cheering up I am entitled to way more than one cookie (especially if I made them).  Ok, so I was nice and shared one with one of my harshest food critics, my Mom who loved them as well!  But seriously these were delicious, and you should try them out too if you are in need of a cheering up, or just a fabulous quick to make cookie!  Even if you are very busy...you have time for these, so no excuses not to make them!  Enjoy!


Maple Chipotle Shortbread
Makes 12

2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 Tbsp red chili flakes, plus additional for topping
turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, then press into an 8 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Score the shortbread into 12 wedges, and prick each wedge a couple times with a fork if desired. Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and bake for about 20 minutes until set and lightly brown. go over the score marks again with the knife when removed from the oven. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

13 comments:

  1. They look very delicious :) I have to admit, have never tried anything with maple syrup or extract and have no idea how does it taste :)

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  2. Beautiful and Delicious!!! Stunning photos as always! :D

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  3. What a funky and brilliant combination!

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  4. Great flavor combinations! I would be afraid of the red chile though, my mouth cannot handle toot toot spicy. Even though I'm from New Mexico :/

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  5. healthy n scrumptious shortbread. Nice shoot as always ^_^

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  6. delicious shortbread! perfectly done :)

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  7. Beatiful recipe and combination of flavors! I wish I could get my hands on them chipotle and that vegan butter...

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  8. Gorgeous! Love the flavor combo, looks super-amazing!

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  9. Chipotle peppers and chocolate...who knew!?! You're brave :).

    I really like that shortbread recipe - it sounds delicious. Great stuff, as always!

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  10. I've never had shortbread. Ever. You have made several variations of it that look incredible though. Maybe I'll have to try it. Maple chipotle doesn't sound like a bad place to start!

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  11. Gorgeous! I love it! Can't wait to try this recipe - thanks so much!!

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  12. Love this idea! I just made some brownies with cinnamon and chipotle and I love that hot burn after the sweet. And maple and chipotle would be such a great combo in a shortbread!

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  13. The maple flavor sounds great! I am sorry that you were having a sad day today, but I'm glad that you found some solace, despite the loss. Sending positive energy your way!

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