Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread...

We're getting back into the swing of things around here... our guests departed yesterday and we are jumping head first into new recipes! It is Tuesday, so that means another edition of baking for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day. We went with another recipe from those ever-present holiday magazines that are flooding the market - we decided on this Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread as the combination of chocolate and peanut butter ranks right up there as one of our favorites!

These slim cookie planks are crisp, oh so buttery and each one has an alluring peanut butter scent. Generously studded with miniature chocolate chips, the dough was pleasant to work with - it was not dry, but not wet either. The texture was just right so you could press it into the pan without it getting stuck to your fingertips. The small chips are semi-sweet, but if you crave a darker bite, I'm sure you could chop up your favorite bittersweet chocolate into small chunks.

You'll know this glorious pan of speckled shortbread is done when the center is set and the finish on top transforms from a pale color to a rich light golden brown. It is best to cut these cookies when they are pipping hot from the oven, so do this carefully with a sharp knife - they will not cut as clean and may crumble a bit if you wait for them to cool completely. To gild the lily, half of each cookie is dunked into dark pool of melted chocolate - I used bittersweet because I couldn't help myself, but choose your chocolate of choice. I didn't have the time (or energy today!) to bother with tempering the chocolate, but if you have to have that luxurious snap to the chocolate coating, don't let me stop you! With their melt-in-your-mouth texture, I think we both overdid it a bit in the sampling department... hopefully we'll still have enough to send in with Jeff tomorrow morning!

I'm kind of winging it in the dinner department this week - we didn't have time to run to the market or plan recipes for this upcoming week while trying our best to entertain our guests. So, I'm trying to find recipes in our stash that will lean on pantry staples or need a simple ingredient or two that Jeff could pick up on the way home. I didn't need him to stop tonight though as we already had everything on hand for this Herbed Chicken and Dumplings dish.

Browning a combination of chopped breast and thigh meat was the first order of business for this recipe - you could use all thighs if you wanted a richer base, but we used a mix. Once golden, the chicken was removed and we sautéed a mixture of sliced celery, carrots and chopped onions with a pinch of thyme, a few sprigs of fresh parsley and a handy bay leaf. Once softened, the cubed chicken was added, along with enough chicken broth to cover.

While the soup was simmering away, we tossed together the dumplings in a matter of minutes. The light dumplings are a combination of a little flour, fresh parsley, a little baking powder to give them lift and enough milk to make a dough. Small scoops of the dough are then dropping into the lightly bubbling broth and left to cook, covered, until they have puffed up and absorbed some of the well-seasoned liquid in the pan. With enough for just two servings, you can certainly double up the ingredients (hold back a little on the parsley though in the dumplings if you do this) if you need a larger batch. Quite comforting, this was a perfect way to warm up after raking a bunch of leaves in a bone-chilling breeze... it also has the benefit of not weighing you down and making you feel a nap is in order! Having said that, I wouldn't turn a nap away afterwards if it meant sliding into a bed with flannel sheets and a warm comforter!


  1. i've got some leftover thanksgiving turkey and i think it would work well in this dish! very warming and hearty. those shortbreads are no slouches either. yum.

  2. This is another great treat of the week. I still did not buy any Holiday Magazines yet. I have been tempted many times.

  3. Kickpleat - I'm looking forward to our leftover turkey in a few weeks!

    Helene - I've only be sucked into a couple, but I'm sure that will change.

  4. I have got to try these parsley dumplings - I used Craig Clairbourn's NYTimes recipe & it was a little soft...... looks beautiful!