1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3 ounces (90 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/2 cup (120 ml) semi sweet chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (80 ml) salted or unsalted toasted nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts) , coarsely chopped
Chocolate Shortbreads: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, an 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth (1-2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and egg yolk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until a dough forms.
Press the shortbread dough in an even layer onto the bottom of the tart pan. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, or just until the shortbread is set and no longer looks wet. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
While the shortbread is baking, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water (this can also be done in the microwave). Immediately upon removing the shortbread from the oven, pour the warm chocolate glaze over the shortbread and, using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, evenly spread the glaze over the shortbread. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and press them gently into the glaze. Let the chocolate shortbread cool completely then remove the sides of the tart pan and cut into 16 wedges.
Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or they can be frozen.
Makes 16 shortbread wedges.
The combination of a buttery rich round of Chocolate Shortbread covered with a chocolate glaze and pieces of crunchy nuts is hard to resist. You can slice the round into large or small wedges, and you may not know that shortbread wedges are often referred to as "petticoat tails", as their shape is similar to the bell-hoop petticoats worn by court ladies in the 12th century.
Let's face it, a good shortbread is all about the butter and these Chocolate Shortbreads are no different. So it is important to use the best unsalted butter you can afford. I prefer using unsalted butter as the salt in 'salted' butter can overpower its sweet flavor and can also mask any odors the butter may have absorbed in storage. Besides the butter, a good vanilla extract adds a nice flavor to these shortbreads. I like to buy "pure" vanilla extract, not the ones labeled "imitation" vanilla extracts as they are made with synthetic vanilla that can have a bitter aftertaste. The chocolate color and flavor of this shortbread comes from cocoa powder. I have made this recipe using both regular unsweetened and Dutch-processed cocoa powder and both were delicious. Just keep in mind that like semi sweet chocolate, the brand and type of cocoa powder will determine the flavor of the shortbread. This shortbread does contain one egg yolk which contributes to the rich flavor of the shortbread. If you prefer an "eggless" shortbread you can just leave it out. Once the shortbread is removed from the oven a chocolate glaze, made by melting semi sweet (or bittersweet) chocolate (can use 1/2 cup (120 ml) semi sweet chocolate chips) with butter, is immediately spread over the shortbread. The butter helps to keep the glaze shiny even after the glaze hardens. The final touch is to sprinkle chopped nuts over the top. You can use any type of nut (pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans) and the nuts can be toasted, salted or unsalted. Just be sure to gently press the nuts into the glaze as you do not want them to fall off the shortbreads as you are taking a bite.