So, I was left to my own devises to craft some sort of Chai Shortbread recipe if I was to press on with my adventure. And I was determined to press on with my adventure. I started with a basic shortbread recipe from The Joy of Cooking. To that, I added the Chai spice line-up ... cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper, guessing at the amounts ... and I think I did pretty good, if I do say so myself!
After you mix everthing up and chill down your dough, you're supposed to roll the dough out thin and cut it into cookies with cookie cutters. I can't be bothered with that. Sure, cut shapes are pretty and all ... but unless it's for a special occasion where the shape adds some value, I'm okay with a more rustic cookie. Hey, it still tastes the same! So here's my method - roll the dough into a log and slice it into 1/4" thick pieces with a serrated knife, like this:
|Shortbread cut the easy-sneezy way.|
|Chai shortbread - naked version.|
I decided to dip some of the cookies in cardamom-spiked chocolate. If one has cookies that have some flaws, chocolate covers a multitude of sins! And it sure tastes great too. I also learned in doing a little bit of reading about shortbread, that when one end of baked shortbread is dipped into melted chocolate, it's given the name Royal shortbread. How fancy sounding!
|ROYAL Chai shortbread ... yummm.|
Royal Chai Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from: Joy of Baking
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
10 cranks of freshly ground pepper from a pepper mill
Chocolate for dipping:
About 1 c. chopped semi-sweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
About 2 tsp. shortening
Pinch of ground cardamom
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt, and spices in a bowl.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat, about 2 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk (or roll it into a log), wrap in plastic wrap, and chill dough for at least an hour or until firm.
3. Roll dough into a 1/4" thick circle; cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Or, use a serrated knife to slice the dough log into 1/4" thick slices (use a sawing motion, rather than just pushing down on the dough). Place cut cookies on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Cool.
4. Combine chocolate and shortening in a small bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring together the melted chocolate and shortening. Stir in the pinch of ground cardamom. Dip one end of each shortbread cookie into the chocolate mixture; place on a piece of waxed paper to set. Dipped cookies may be placed in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help set the chocolate.