Salt and pepper often don't get the respect that they deserve. How many times have you run across a so-called "5-ingredient recipe" only to discover that it's really more than that, because they don't count salt and pepper and water as ingredients? Water is actually the one that bugs me most. Sure, I understand not counting the water that you use to cook pasta, for instance. But it drives me crazy to read the ingredient list for a recipe, then get down in the directions and discover that you need to add a specific amount of water. If you need a specific amount, list it as an ingredient! I've run into the same thing with salt--the ingredients may list a type of salt, but not a specific amount. Yes, I know you're supposed to read through the whole recipe before you start, but even with doing that, sometimes I get distracted partway through...
Okay, done ranting. =) Now on to a baked good that does give salt and pepper a starring role, even in the recipe title. For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, Tia of Buttercream Barbie picked the Salt and Pepper Cocoa Shortbreads for us to make. The nice thing about these cookies is that the dough is easy to mix up. I do recommend that you assemble all your ingredients ahead of time (mise en place) so you don't forget any... like the egg yolk. I realized as I was putting my logs of cookie dough in the fridge to chill that I had totally forgotten the egg yolk. (That's a bit ironic, since I started making the dough because I was looking for a way to use up egg yolks.) However, I've made plenty of shortbread recipes that don't have any egg in them, so I decided to just go with it.
After chilling the dough for a few hours, I cut it into thick slices with my serrated knife. I baked the cookies for about 15 minutes, I think. It's hard to say for sure, since I continued with my forgetfulness and didn't set a timer at first. Fortunately, I've baked enough cookies to be able to go by how they looked and smelled to figure out when they were done.
The verdict? These turned out to be quite good, despite the forgotten egg yolk. Like a lot of shortbread, I found that these were actually better the second day than the first. I probably should have used a little more pepper, since I couldn't really taste it. The fleur de sel definitely came through, though. I really enjoy the little bursts of saltiness with the chocolate. Everyone else seemed to enjoy these as well.
If you'd like to give this recipe a try for yourself, head over to Tia's blog. And to see what everyone else thought of the shortbread, check out this week's Links.