Friday, December 23, 2011

Dark Chocolate Shortbread with Toasted Almonds and Smoked Sea Salt


I have to admit, although I am a vegetarian I love the smell of bacon.  I was discussing it with a coworker recently who also doesn't eat it and we agreed that the aroma it gives off when cooking is wonderful, probably more enjoyable and satisfying than if actually eaten. 


I don't know of many people who don't agree.  It doesn't make me want to actually eat it however, because I realize that the things about bacon that appeal to me is the saltiness and the smokyness.  So when I came across some smoked sea salt at a store last weekend I couldn't pass it up! I figured it could be added to savory dishes, but I most wanted to pair it with chocolate! 


I thought it would be wonderful with dark chocolate and toasted almonds in a shortbread cookie.   I am on a cookie kick as of lately with the Christmas baking. I don't know if these qualify as "Christmasy" but I decided they needed to be made now because I couldn't wait. 


I knew they would be amazing when I tested some of the dough (ok a lot of the dough).  They had a rich deep flavor with a hint of smokyness.  The finished product however was even better, almost like a cross between a brownie and shortbread.


The cookie itself was melt in your mouth, intensely chocolaty due to the chocolate dough as well as the chopped dark chocolate I had added.  They had a hint of smoke which paired beautifully with the richness and nutty crunchy almonds which contributed wonderful texture. 


I enjoyed some with red wine and it was a beautiful combination.  In fact, it would be perfect to give as a gift with a bottle of wine, I know I would love to recieve it!  Here is the recipe if you would like to enjoy some for yourself! 


Dark Chocolate Shortbread with Toasted Almonds and Smoked Sea Salt
Makes 12 shortbreads

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp regular fleur de sel
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
6 oz good quality vegan chocolate, chopped, or chips
1 1/2 cups toasted coarsely chopped almonds

2 oz good quality vegan dark chocolate
additional smoked sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  In a large bowl, beat together butter, maple sugar, vanilla, and salts until light and fluffy. Mix in dry ingredients until well combined, and then the almonds and chocolate until well incorporated.  Turn out into a 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom, and press firmly into the bottom to the sides, and flat.  Score the dough into 12 triangles, sprinkle with turbinado sugar (press in) and a little fleur de sel and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until set.  When done baking, score again, and cool on a wire rack completely before unmolding.


8 comments:

  1. Your chocolate shortbreads look amazing! I can easily have a couple of slices of these yummers. Okay, make that three! :)

    ~ ray ~

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  2. These sound delicious and for a bacon lover like myself they would be perfect with the addition of it :)

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  3. Oh my gosh these are just stunning! I was just clicking over to visit you after your visit to my blog this morning and I am so glad I did! Thank you for your kind comment and a very happy holiday to you :)

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  4. Oh my yum! Shortbread is one of my absolute favorites but dark chocolate shortbread sounds even more amazing! :)

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  5. That looks phenomenal--I don't eat bacon, either, but I know what you mean about that smoky quality. Dark chocolate and sea salt is a wonderful combo!

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  6. these look BEAUTIFUL, amy! i havent had shortbread in over ten years, and this makes me miss it!

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  7. Oh man - I love shortbread, but chocolate shortbread is bliss. And the toasted almonds sound perfect with it.

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  8. YUM! And thank goodness you didn't put too much salt like when I tried to make salted chocolate shortbread. LOL

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