Archive for Recipes: Sweet

Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

A few years back, when I first started my business, I’d bake mountains of Christmas cookies to distribute to my clients this time of the year. 

Well, times have changed. My teaching career took off, I entered the lucrative world of food blogging (LOL) and I slowly let my clients go. I mostly work with one major client these days. 

But I still really like baking cookies at this time of the year. Heck, at any time of the year, if we’re being honest. I’m kind of a snob about making sure Michael has homemade cookies in his lunch. And I don’t like visiting friends this time of the year empty-handed. And I do have cookie exchange this weekend… Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

So this year, I’m making three types of cookies. These ginger cookies are one of my faves this time of the year. I kick them up with a grating of fresh ginger and some chopped candied ginger. I’m also going to be making my vegan snickerdoodles (recipe is in my cookbook) for the vegans in the crowd, and then I made these. 

Now, to be fair, these were a very spur-of-the-moment decision. They were a bit of a risk. 

A couple weeks back, my friend Rob came into town to go to the Christmas Market with Michael and I. The next morning, after Michael had gone to school, Rob and I walked over to the downtown Lindt store before he caught the ferry back to the Sunshine Coast. I got Michael an advent calendar, and I stocked up on my favourite chocolate bar, which is the Lindt Dark Fleur de Sel. I am basically never without one of these in my house. I don’t eat a lot of them, maybe one square or two per night, but I like to have it on hand at all times. 

As we were leaving, I grabbed a Lindt-produced magazine to have a look at, as it had recipes, and I noticed this one for a chocolate shortbread. I figured I’d give it a go. 

I made the cookies and they were good. So good, in fact, that all the taste-testers concerned agreed they were blog-worthy. And I think these will now make it into my regular rotation. 

They’re super easy to make because you just make up the dough, then roll it into a log and then allow it to set up in the fridge. When you’re ready to bake them, just slice off rounds. It also freezes well, or you could gift people with logs of uncooked dough which they could bake themselves. 

By the way, this post is, in no way, shape or form sponsored by Lindt. But Lindt, if you’re reading… 😉 

Dark Chocolate Shortbread

Salted Dark Chocolate Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 ½ icing sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 bar Sea Salt Dark Chocolate (or dark chocolate plus a little extra sea salt)

Method

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. 
  2. Add the salt and then the flour slowly (so as not to create an poof of flour), until it is incorporated. 
  3. Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces, and fold the chocolate into the dough. 
  4. Divide the dough into three even lumps, and then roll the lumps out into logs about 2″ in diameter. Wrap the logs snugly in wax paper or saran wrap, then place in the fridge to set. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  6. Slice the logs into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices, and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little extra grated chocolate and sea salt if desired. 
  7. Bake for around 9 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to be golden. 
  8. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Apple Clafoutis

This is it, guys. It’s really fall.

Here on the West Coast, we had a beautiful October, filled to the brim with sunny, crisp days and stunning foliage. It’s one of those times when you’re so grateful for where you live.

When Michael was younger, there would always be a Pro-D day at the end of October, and we’d spend it at the Pumpkin Patch–picking out the perfect pumpkin to eat or to carve up, going on hay rides, eating mini donuts and buying apples and other fresh, seasonal produce.

Apple Clafoutis

Sadly, Mr. Teenager is no longer into it, but I dragged him out to Abbotsford anyway a couple weeks back to Tave’s, which is an apple farm. They have pumpkins, apples, apple cider, and lots of fun activities for the littles, like a corn maze, pony rides, and a petting zoo (nothing makes me happier than petting goats).

We came home, natch, with a pumpkin, some apples, and some freshly-pressed apple cider.

There are so many things you can do with apples, both sweet and savoury, but I wanted to do something little less traditional than say, a cobbler or a pie. I decided to try making an apple clafoutis.

Clafoutis is a French dessert. Basically, you take any kind of fruit you like (cherries are most traditional), and throw them into the bottom of the pan. Hard-core French won’t even pit them. Then, you make a really simple batter–it’s a lot like a pancake or crepe batter–just flour, sugar, eggs and milk, and pour it on top of your fruit, and then bake at a high temp.

The end result is much bigger than the sum of its humble parts. The batter creates a kind of custardy filling that is infused with the fruit. And the fruit–juicy, delicious and warm–is fan-freaking-tastic.

In an ideal world, you’d want to bake this off at the last moment and serve it warm to the table with a dusting of powdered sugar or maybe a nice cold scoop of ice cream.

Here, I’ve swapped out the cherries for apples, but before putting them to bed in a warm blanket of batter in the oven, the apples are sautéed in cider, a little booze, cinnamon and butter, to glaze them and bring out their natural sweetness and juiciness.

Apple Clafoutis: what fall desserts dream of being.

Clafoutis Apple

Apple Clafoutis

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or juice
  • 4 sturdy apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (granny smiths are good)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp liquor (rum would be great, any whisky, or amaretto)
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Method:

  1. In a cast iron frying pan over medium heat, melt the 1/4 cup butter. Toss in the apples, apple cider, sugar and cinnamon and toss well. Allow to cook down about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is coating the apples with a glaze. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar and salt. Blitz it until it is smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Arrange the apples in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, and then pour the clafoutis batter overtop in an even layer. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s set in the middle. It’s okay if it’s still a bit jiggly.
  5. Remove from oven and dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and serve warm.
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