Okay, I'm definitely running behind now... At this rate, my 12 cookies are going to take at least 13 or 14 days. But it's not entirely my fault. =) And it's not the only thing I'm behind on. I think it was Sunday when I mentioned the naked Christmas tree in my living room. It finally got lights on Tuesday and Brianna and Gillian added some ornaments on Wednesday evening. We might get it done before the weekend...
Anyway, back to the main reason why it's not entirely my fault that I'm behind. I'm blaming it on my recipe choice for Day 8. The Mocha Fans weren't originally on my list, but I was looking for something easy so I could get caught up. The fans are basically wedges of chocolate shortbread (all baked in one pan then cut--easy!) topped with ganache. So I mixed up the dough, pressed it into my 10-inch tart pan, popped it in the oven, and let it back for 35 minutes. When I opened the oven door to check on it, I was very disturbed by what I saw--the contents of the pan was bubbling. A lot. Very disturbing for something that was supposed to be shortbread. I left it in the oven for a little while longer, but it didn't improve. So I took it out and left it on the top of the stove to cool overnight. (Thank goodness I'd put the tart pan on a baking sheet--there was butter everywhere!)
When I checked on it Wednesday morning, things had not improved much. Instead of pools of melted butter all over, I had patches of congealed butter. I took a piece out of the pan, and it had an odd, bendy texture. Not good eats. (Guess what I've been watching as I'm working on this post...) And very frustrating. I thought about it throughout my day (mostly while driving to work and to pick up the girls in the evening), and I think I figured out some of what went wrong. The ratio of ingredients seemed to be off. I took a look at my usual shortbread recipe. For a cup of butter, it calls for 2 cups of flour, while this recipe only has 1 1/2 cups for the same amount of butter. There is cocoa powder, but not enough to make up the weight of the missing flour. Also, most shortbread recipes don't have much sugar, be it granulated or powdered. This recipe calls for a full cup of brown sugar. I suspect that's responsible for the funky texture. So I decided to try the recipe again. I reduced the butter and brown sugar--you can find my final ingredient measurements below. I baked the shortbread as directed, let it cool overnight, and dressed it up with some ganache.
The verdict? My doctored recipe turned out quite good! I didn't have a chance to try it right away, since I pretty much took pictures this morning then ran out the door to work. But I took some of the fans with me to see what the guys would think. They all thought that it was good, though very chocolatey. (The sablés I took were a big hit, too. Amusing note--I just labeled the container "chocolate shortbread and vanilla butter cookies" since I figured mocha fans and vanilla bean sablés would just be way too confusing for them.) I was finally able to sample one with my lunch, and I really liked it. The shortbread wasn't too sweet and had a good texture. I used 70% chocolate for the ganache, and it might have been just a bit too bitter--I'll probably go with something in the 60% range next time. But I do think I'll make my modified recipe again.
If you want to try these for yourself, you can find the original recipe here. Maybe you'll have better luck with it than I did. Here's the ingredient list that I ended up using:
6 3/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur, here)
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) natural cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) brown sugar
And be sure to check out the other bakers participating in the 12 Days of Cookies to see what they've baked up for yesterday and today! =)
Andrea of Andrea's Recipes