i get intense desires to bake at odd times. it will be midnight, and i will be struck with an overwhelming need to bake tasty treats. but, i am also extremely lazy, and refuse to go to the store for supplies… in which case i have to get creative with what i have on hand… this has lead to both amazingness (ie: naked cupcakes of last summer) and disaster (ie: bisquick cookies… believe me, no matter how much frosting you put on “cookies” made from bisquick mix, water and eggs, it will always taste awful. well, unless you are really, really drunk. or have no taste buds.)
the point of this story is that this past weekend, at around 8am monday morning (thanks mass for marathon monday), the mood struck. and i was not, under any circumstances, going to the store. so i scrounged around the cabinets and from the contents i found, decided on a nice shortbread cookie. since i seem to have cocoa coming out the wazoo, and i wouldn’t hesitate to have babies with chocolate were it possible, i decided to throw some of that in there. and since the only extract i have currently is peppermint… i threw some of that in there too. i personally think you can never go wrong with mint. the entire ingredient gathering process was quite exciting. i enjoy making it up… it makes me feel creative and oh so clever. (seriously, bisquick cookies. quite clever, even if baked pancakes = extremely unpleasant).
i couldn’t find any chocolate shortbread recipes that really sang to me.. so i mixed and matched a bit. borrowing martha stewart‘s basic recipe, and then sticking in different baking times. i wasn’t in a pie shaped mood…
what you’ll need: 1 stick unsalted butter, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (let’s imagine the above is not just regular sugar.. i told you, i’m lazy.), 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp peppermint oil
1. beat your stick of butter (room temp.) until creamy.
(i really need a fancy mixing bowl contraption. because at this point in the program, my bowl went careening about the table, splattering butter everywhere.)
2. ….make your own confectioner’s sugar… ahem… alright, i figured, what is confectioner’s sugar, but really fine, wispy looking sugar? why on earth can’t i stick regular sugar in a food processor? then i’ll be amazing, and won’t have to go to the grocery, right? well, apparently, confectioners sugar actually contains other fun stuff like cornstarch. (thanks wikipedia!) but whatever, i did it anyways, and it still worked nicely.
(even though sugar ended up coating my counters, floor, and myself… and the bugger woke up my roommates. i guess not everyone gets up at 8:30 am to bake cookies. who knew?)
3. mix ingredients all together. i put a little under half a tsp of mint oil. i didn’t want it to be overpowering (hence “minty” chocolate shortbread cookies.)
(mmm, pretty ingredients.)
now, i mixed it using a spoon, then giving up on my slightly less than room temperature creamed butter (did i mention i was lazy?) and its unwillingness to properly mix, i whipped out the hand mixer again. my dough was pretty much just a bunch of crumbles. i was convinced i had screwed up somehow, so i went to the old stand by and dug my hands in there. suddenly, miracles! it started sticking together! so that was a long way of saying, don’t be concerned if it is crumbly and un-doughlike. just use your hands and squish it together. it will all work out.
4. roll dough into a ball and wrap in parchment paper. place in freezer for a bit. this will help it harden, so that it doesn’t crumble when you roll it out.
5. roll dough out (i rolled between the parchment paper so that it didn’t dirty my rolling pin). then you can cut out shapes. i really wanted to use a christmas tree cookie cutter, but my now-fully-awake roommates vetoed that idea…
next best thing… shot glass turned cookie cutter! creativity abounds. these cookies are terrier shot sized.
i decorated a couple too. i’m cute like that.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. mine took a nice 23. which is also, coincidentally, about how many cookies this made…
then voila… minty chocolate shortbread cookies…
the verdict: this tasting session taught me that everyone is a critic. i like your opinions people, but really. just enjoy your damn cookie. tester b recommended i add more mint, thereby dueling the girl scouts for cookie supremacy. but tester r thought they were “super delicious.” i like tester r. he eats and appreciates, like a good little tester should.