Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

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Triple Chocolate Balls

Triple Chocolate Party Balls

Party Balls

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 20

  • 3 cups crushed shortbread cookies
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips or chocolate bar, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup liqueur of choice (or rum)
  • chocolate candy coating (or almond bark) for dipping

 METHOD:

  1. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix well until a “dough” forms.
  2. Freeze dough for 30 minutes, or until hard enough to form balls. Break off small pieces and roll between your palms until you have lots of small truffle-sized balls. Re-freeze until ready to dip.
  3. Melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler. Dip each frozen ball in the chocolate. Set to dry on wax paper.
NOTES
Liqueur suggestions: Bailey’s, Kahlua, rum, or bourbon. Mix it up by using white or dark chocolate! or dark chocolate chips – yum!

Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

METHOD:

  1. Beat butter with an electric mixer on high for one minute.   Add cream, vanilla and sugars and beat on medium low for one minute and gradually increase speed until butter and sugar are thoroughly creamed together.  Turn off mixer and sift in flour and salt.  Mix on medium low until all ingredients are fully mixed and you are able to form a ball of dough.
  2. Form into disc, wrap in wax paper and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to three hundred fifty degrees fahrenheit and remove dough from refrigerator.  Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough until half an inch thick.  Cut three inch in diameter rounds and place onto ungreased baking sheet.  Place baking sheet in preheated oven for 13 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown.
  4. Remove and transfer to cooling rack while warm.  Place parchment paper under cooling rack and spoon ganache (recipe follows) onto shortbread and top with your favorite toppings.

Chocolate ganache frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Irish cream whiskey

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave on high power for 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat until thoroughly melted.  Add cream and whisk until thoroughly blended and creamy.  Whisk in Irish cream whiskey and bring to room temperature.
  2. Note:  These are my most favorite holiday cookie.  They’re great for gifts and for personalizing to those you’re giving them to by simply adding different toppings.  There is always a batch of these ready to go in my freezer just in case I need an emergency gift.  You may freeze shortbread dough for at least 3 weeks wrapped in wax paper and sealed in an air tight container.  Remove from freezer and place in refrigerator overnight (or for at least 8 hours)  and they’ll be ready to roll out in the morning.

Version 2

  1. Preheat oven to 175°c.
Step 1: In a small mixer bowl, cream together until light and fluffy

  • 3/4 cup real butter, softened but still cool
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (shaken to level)
Step 2: Add

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (shaken to level)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (shaken to level)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted macadamia nuts, or other preferred nut
On low speed, mix until blended well, scraping bowl.
Step 3: Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll each ball in ½ cup very finely chopped nuts (or in granulated sugar if you’re not trying to keep to less than 6 ingredients). Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Flatten with a greased cookie stamp or flat-bottomed glass.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove shortbreads to wire racks to cool.  Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies.