I haven't been reading Coconut & Lime very long, and I can't remember what recipe first introduced me to Rachel's blog. Though she clearly has lots of baking experience, it's actually some of her savory recipes that have interested me most, and I've got them on my "to do" list. A few weeks ago, in honor of her 5-year blogoversary, Rachel posted a contest: readers could either create a recipe with coconut and lime (not going to go over well with the "allergic" husband) or bake one of her recipes and post it to their blogs. The due date is tomorrow, 6/15, and when did I spot the contest? Tonight. So, quick like a bunny, I whipped up some Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Chip Shortbread Fingers. Based on her picture, I thought they could also be called shortbread cigars (cute, right?).
As Rachel says, they are extremely easy to prep, shape, bake, and dip. The cookies themselves are just as light and buttery as shortbread oughta be. I haven't tasted the dipped ones yet, so I can't speak to the taste with the added chocolate, but what could be bad?
Here's one odd thing. I read the instructions and thought since shortbread is usually flat (not rounded like a cigar), I might prefer the cookies shaped into 3" x 1/2" logs and then pressed flat. My cookies spread a little, but not a lot, but even with the oven preheated, they took WAY longer than 8-10 minutes to even see a hint of color on the bottom. I stopped keeping track, but I checked them about every 60 seconds after the initial buzzer, and I'm guessing they were in there nearly 13 minutes. After the first tray, I had enough dough left for about five more cookies, and I decided to do those following the instructions to the letter. They did take longer - maybe 11 1/2 minutes - but the rounded cookies took color on the bottom much faster (and darker) than their flat brethren. Weird! Wonder if it had to do with the oven continuing to heat, or with fewer interruptions to check doneness (meaning fewer drops in temperature), or with the actual shape of the cookie. The end result is that the rolled cookies are slightly taller and not quite as wide, though they did flatten a little as well. You could go either way with it.
Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Chip Shortbread (modified slightly from original)
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Cream butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour, one cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Stir in 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. I used a silpat. Measure about a tablespoon of dough and roll it between your hands until it is about three inches long. I placed the cookie cigar down and pressed it flat until it was about 1/2" wide and approximately as tall. Place cookies about 1/2" apart on the sheet. You'll want to handle these as little as possible, particularly if you have hot hands like I do tonight. Bake until they are just starting to get lightly golden brown on the bottom, 8-10 minutes, or however long it takes. Keep checking them briefly every 60-90 seconds. Remove from the oven, let sit for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.
While the cookies cool, melt the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. I don't particularly like the taste of mini-chocolate chips, so I opted to use better chocolate for the dipping but stuck to mini-chips for the batter because they would work better within the cookie. When the cookies are cool, dip about 1/3 of the cookie into the chocolate. Be gentle! They are really fragile. I broke at least four. Place them back on the wire rack, or on parchment, to dry. Store in a tupperware. The original recipe says to store in a single layer, but if the chocolate is dry, I'm assuming you could stack them with waxed paper in between layers.
One more note: since I was planning on flattened cookies, I wondered if it would be easier to roll out some of the dough, cut it to the right size, and transfer it to the cookie sheet. In a word, no. Perhaps if it had firmed up longer in the fridge, but although the dough rolled out and cut fine, it was too soft to be transferred to the cookie sheet intact.
These are the rolled cigar-style cookies.
Next to each other, they don't look that different. On the rounded one, you can see more clearly where it spread. However, I like the height it has.