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Friday, June 4, 2010

Pecan Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread is such a deliciously easy thing to make. It's tasty and with a little creativity can be quite the treat. Most of us think of Pecan Sandies when we think of pecan shortbread, but what about a shortbread actually made with pecan meal or pecan flour?

This lovely recipe uses pecan flour or meal to give this delightful shortbread its nutty taste. The addition of some bittersweet chocolate flavored with coffee and a little orange zest kicks it up a notch to decadent!

You'll find this is quick and easy and sure to please family or guests. This is actually a very delicate and crumbly shortbread and the thought kept going around in my head that this would also make an amazing crust for a cheesecake or other cold pie (a chocolate pie comes to mind!) I'll certainly be keeping it in mind when I want to experiment with a new and different crust.

So, here we go with Pecan Chocolate Shortbread...

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecan flour or pecans finely ground into a meal
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
large pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
8 pecan halves
1-2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted with 1/8 tsp. instant coffee and pinch of orange zest.

In a medium bowl stir together the all-purpose flour, pecan flour (or pecan meal), sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter cubes with pastry cutter or mix with fingers until blended and the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Add egg yolk and blend with fork. Lightly knead the dough until it is smooth.

Transfer shortbread to baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with butter. Shape shortbread dough into a 6-inch round. Place baking sheet with dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes until well chilled. Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove dough from refrigerator and using a butter knife, score the top of the disk to make 8 wedges. Place a pecan halve at the broad end of each wedge. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until edges of shortbread are just browned.

Remove from oven and while shortbread is still warm. Slice into 8 wedges using the score marks you made earlier. (I found that a serrated knife or a bench scraper/dough cutter worked well for this.)

Allow the shortbread to cool completely.

Place 1 to 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate in microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals (stirring between each) until melted. Stir in 1/8 tsp. of instant coffee and a pinch of orange zest. (Alternatively, use a double boiler.)

Using a fork drizzle the chocolate over the shortbread. Allow chocolate to cool completely and serve.

Shortbread may be kept up to 3 days in airtight container.
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