Shortbread Chocolate Squares

D&D_1148

Spiffy Shortbread bars with chocolate and pecans

You know I have to do a chocolate thing now and again. And this sort of sounded like a bit of riff on a blondie with some toppings. It is obvious, at least to me to try it, but I’m not sure about its original name. But what the hell is in a name after all?

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ozs semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) Ghirardelli is always preferred.
1 cups chopped pecans, toasted – Local Renfroe’s pecans are always best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan in parchment and spray with cooking spray – just in case. Thank you William-Sonoma.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Gradually mix in flour until just mixed. The dough will be stiff. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan.

Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through – this is required – I do it whether it is called for or not – kind of OCD that way. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Return pan to the oven for a minute or two. Remove and using an offset spatula spread the chocolate over the surface. Sprinkle the nuts across evenly.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into small squares – very small because they are rich. And excellent.

Source: Epicurious, but adapted.

Notes: these were called toffee squares, but to my mind really don’t taste much like toffee. Even though there is a cup of brown sugar in the crust. They are kind of a shortbread crust with chocolate and nuts on top. There is nothing wrong with that, by the way.

Lemon Lemon (Lemon) Loaf – or triple lemon cake, if you prefer

This recipe originally made two 9″ x 5″ loafs, but since I only have one 9″ x 5″ pan which is perfect for my mom’s banana nut bread and the other one is 8″ x something,  I decided to just half the recipe and deal with it. This, therefore, is for one loaf. I have to say I love my loaf pans – they are the Williams-Sonoma gold touch and pretty much amazing. I totally recommend them, no, really – I have no dog in this fight. They are far and away the best baking pans. Baking so evenly and made in the USA – that’s right – just like my Nordic Ware – which are bundt pan magic.* I just keep adding to my gold touch collection – 2 9″ round cake pans, 9″ x 13″ baking pan, and the list goes on. Hey W&S, please send me the 12 cup cupcake pan just because I’m kind of nice (sometimes), well not really. D&D_IMG_0825-Edit

This is one of the softest cakes I’ve ever made. The texture is so light that it seems etherial. It is great plain, but outstanding with syrup and glaze. It makes a great breakfast – hardly surprising, I know.

I like to bake for others, but sometimes, like this, I just want to make something I think I will like. And that usually means lemon-something. Can’t help it. But I did share this around and I think it was well received.

3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
zest of two good sized lemons
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 – 3 Tbs lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment and spray again.

Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

Put eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined. With food processor running, drizzle the butter through the feed tube. Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the flour mixture, one third at a time, gently fold. Do not overmix. Add batter to loaf pan, and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pan, reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake for 30 – 35 minutes more or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes.

In saucepan, heat lemon juice and sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Heat for a few more minutes until it thickens just slightly. Remove from heat and cool slightly [saying slightly quite a bit].

Line a sheet pan with parchment and invert loaf onto pan. Using a skewer, poke holes into top of loaf. Brush top with lemon syrup. Let soak into the cake. Let cake cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tbs lemon juice. Should be thick, but pourable. Pour the glaze over top and let it drip down the sides. Let lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes.

D&D_IMG_0830-EditSoaked unglazed loaves will keep wrapped in two layers of plastic and frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Glazed loaves will keep for 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

I think they get better after the first day.

16 October 2015

This is a half recipe of the original from Epicurious from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. The food processor part of this really surprised me, but it did work.

*I will not even go into how many Nordic Ware bundt pans I have. I think it might be not natural. But I still love them!