Can you hear that sigh…that huge exhale of relief? I’ve decided that this year I have to be more cognizant of MY priorities and that might include saying no to some interesting but otherwise way too time consuming projects for the blog. I won’t be heading to events that someone hopes I cover in exchange for an entry ticket or a free drink…sometimes they’re fun but not as much fun as meeting my own friends and buying my own drink…and I don’t have to write a post afterwards either! I’m officially taking a leave of absence from another baking group too; I just don’t have enough hours in the day to get it all done and I have some things of my own I want to start. A Cocktail Club. More salads and light dishes. Some posts that are near and dear to my heart about social issues and food. Still; one obligation that I hope to not miss is this one…when I bake with friends. Even if my baking this month would have me win the ‘Better Late Than Never’ award. Not just the last day of the month…no, I managed to make it the last day of the YEAR..buh bye 2012.
If I’m perfectly honest, this post for #Baketogether should not be happening at all. I started feeling a bit punk on Christmas Eve and missed a couple of things I wanted to go to; managed to muddle through Christmas OK but just crashed afterwards with a horrible cold…you know, the kind when you honestly feel like you might rip your lungs out of your body when you cough? Yeah, that kind. I was sick in bed Wednesday and Thursday (first time in many years I did that!) and in my fog, my Friday Cocktail post went live but it had not actually been completed so not only was there no photo…the ‘post’ was basically some notes and a recipe. I think that might have freaked me out more if I hadn’t been sick. Cough medicine was the great equalizer…I was pretty mellow and with an ‘Oh, well’ attitude I managed to make and photograph this Champagne Cocktail for New Year’s and revised that pathetic post as quick as possible. The cocktail was wonderful but I only had a sip…I could have downed it in a heartbeat but just could not convince myself that it was the perfect pairing for Tylenol Cold and Flu Medicine. Boo.
Now, I could attest to my great fondness for Abby Dodge and my total commitment to her monthly event and there would be truth in those words. But if I’m honest? I didn’t feel good and I wanted two things. Some soup and some cookies. I figure if I was going to make cookies, then I ought to do these and I’m so glad I did. They embody not only a great shortbread cookie but also the flavors of my favorite candy bar; the Heath Bar. I believe that the first cavity I ever got when I was little must have had ‘Heath Bar’ attributed to it. It’s been a long term love affair and these cookies were the perfect vehicle for those flavors of toffee and milk chocolate. An easy and delicious cookie filled with Heath Brickle Bits and then drizzled with some melted milk chocolate. I will blame the fever on the fact that I ate so many of the first batch I cooked that I had to bake more in order to get photos. They are that good…you know, the ‘I think I’ll just have one more’ type of good but then you keep saying that same thing over and over until they are all gone good?
Was it coincidence or is there truth in the fact that I feel better after indulging. I think it was the cookies. Next time? Forget gargling with salt water…I’m eating some more Heath Bar Ice Box Cookies! The doctor you need to call is Abby Dodge! 🙂
Heath Bar Shortbread Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups (10 1/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Heath 'Bits 'O Brickle'
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) milk chocolate chips for drizzling
- 3 Tbsp half and half
To make the dough:
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
- Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg, Heath bits and vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat on medium until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough begins to form moist clumps, about 1 minute.
- Dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, gently knead into a smooth dough. Shape into a 18-inch-long, rectangular log. Cut into two pieces and wrap each well in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until chilled and very firm, about 4 hours.
To bake the cookies:
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two (or more if you have them) cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
- Using a thin-bladed knife, cut the dough into slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick
- Arrange the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the tops look dry and the edges are golden brown, 11 to 13 minutes.
- Move the sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies sit for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough using cookie sheets that are completely cold.
To drizzle the cookies:
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the milk chocolate chips on high for 20 seconds, until soft (chips hold their shape so go ahead and stir them). Add the half and half and microwave for up to 20 seconds more until all of the chocolate is soft and can be stirred until smooth.
- Pour the chocolate into a small ziploc bag and snip off the corner of the bag (Keep it small; you can always enlarge).
- Squeeze the bag gently and drizzle the chocolate in both directions across each cookie.
- Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is set or put the cookies into the fridge for 10-15 minutes if in a hurry to have them setup.
The dough can be prepared through Step 5 and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month before proceeding with the recipe. If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
Layer the baked and cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. These cookies can be stowed for up to 5 days at room temperature or for up to 3 months in the freezer.