Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rosemary Shortbread Bars with Dark Chocolate

I made these for my birthday and they turned out to be I suppose, a happy accident. I wanted to make two batches of brownies of the same recipe, one batch that used natural cocoa powder while the other used Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I’ve always used the latter but after reading Alice Medrich rhapsodize about natural cocoa powder I wanted to try it. Unfortunately, my mind was so focused on turning 27 and my quarter-life crisis (does that exist?) that I forgot to add eggs into the first batch of brownies. By the time I realized my mistake, the pan was already in the oven. FML. 

Anyway, here is the two layer shortbread and chocolate bar. The bottom is a crumbly rosemary shortbread, it hits all the right buttery notes and the herb isn’t overwhelming and resonates throughout the cookie. The chocolate layer on top turned out like a thick chocolate wafer. It’s barely sweet and compliments the shortbread nicely; the chocolate flavour was strong too, just enough to satisfy my chocolate craving. The chocolate layer tends to separate from the shortbread after I've cut and divided the pan, but its still delicious and everyone I gave these away to as gifts raved about them.

I still have about a cup of natural cocoa powder left over, I’m saving it to use in another chocolate worthy dessert. Any suggestions? Also, this reminds me of this Rosemary and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake and the delicious combination of chocolate and herbs.

Rosemary Shortbread Bars with Dark Chocolate
Adapted from Epicurious here and here

For the Rosemary Shortbread
3/4 sticks (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

For the Dark Chocolate Layer
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Preparation for the Rosemary Shortbread
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper or foil.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and honey with sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and chopped rosemary. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface knead dough about 8 times, or until it just comes together. With floured hands press dough evenly into pan or mold. Bake shortbread in middle of oven 20 to 30 minutes, or until pale golden, and let stand in pan for 10 minutes.

Preparation for the Dark Chocolate Layer
As the shortbread cools, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. Spread evenly on top of the cooled shortbread.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges dry, about 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and let cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

Recipe here!

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