Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting Antsy...

I've been off the baking train for what, a week, ten days? No new freshly baked sweets to devour. Boooring.
I was pleasantly surprised at the scale this morning. It simply stated 0.8 down instead of the up it has been taunting me with lately. I felt much better about the ridiculous face that the Hubs made at me, the other day, when he opened the box of Ring-dings to find one left, out of the perfectly packaged two he had expected to pack with his lunch for work. I sheepishly told him, but I'm saaaaaaaaaaving it so I can have one tomorrow too! He grumbled and had to take Oreos instead. Oh the heartache. Haha!

I'm getting antsy now, I need some new baked goodies in the house.
I had book-marked some things to try and was browsing by way of 'what do I have left in my pantry' that I can make something with... I came up with Caramel Coffee Shortbread Cookies.

For dinner, Honey mustard Kielbasa and red potatoes. Finally I get to use my fancy wiggly cutter thingy. [Yes that is a technical term]

I really wanted to try some chocolate chip scones but I don't have heavy cream and due to the Ice Storm today Hubs is home and I'm not making a trip to the store.  Same reason why I'm substituting dried minced onion for an actual onion in tonight's dinner.  See Recipe here for Honey Mustard Kielbasa from Kraft.  It was okaaay, I'm really not a kielbasa fan but I'd make it again. Added 2 cups of frozen carrots also. I would, next time, however cook the potato for 20 minutes separately first. Things started to get a little crispy at the 60 minute mark.

Back to baking. So I halved a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Espresso Shortbread and adjusted a smidge or two...  I adapted my recipe from Life's too Short not to eat Dessert First.

I still have most of the container of the powdered espresso from the cheesecake recipe so I had that in my mind.  But every time I go to Target [my big trip out every other week] I like to treat myself to an Americano or something. I deserve it! I love my coffee at home but I am a snob about espresso. I'll admit it. I worked at a coffee shop for a while, it just happens like that.
So anyhow they always have free samples of that powdered VIA coffee and I happen to land a Caramel one on my last trip.  I figured maybe I could try that instead of the powdered espresso? Its got a flavor besides coffee beans. Lets go crazy its only a small batch.

Caramel Coffee Shortbread Cookies

1/2 Tbs Starbucks VIA Carmel instant Coffee
1/2 Tbs boiling water
1 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temp.
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

Add water to instant coffee, set aside.
Cream together Butter & Sugar. Add Coffee mixture, blend.  Add flour and blend until flour is just combined with mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Take entire mixture and put in quart sized plastic bag and flatten to about 1/4 inch will fill 3/4 of the bag.  Put in freezer for 30-40 minutes.  [Original recipe says fridge for at least two hours but I have no patience and two kids, you do the math]  Once you take it out of the freezer cut the bag open with scissors. Slice the dough into 9 even squares, then each square in a diagonal. Or cut them however you feel like but these worked out pretty darn good. The entire batch fits on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes at 325.  They just start to brown on the bottoms when done but otherwise don't change color much.
The mixture looked and smelled exactly like caramel. I wanted to eat it, as is, drizzled over ice cream or something. Too bad it would have tasted like coffee flavored butter. eww. Noooo I did not try it.

I've never eaten or made shortbread as far as I can recollect.  I think they came out tasty.  Didn't taste any of the caramel but maybe next time I'll pick up some caramel or toffee chips to add in with the chocolate chips. They smelled delicious.  I think the caramel made them smell super sweet while baking but you didn't get half the sweet taste as you smelled.  Even the Hubs noticed the super sweet smell and made a comment.  Then I asked him if I have ever baked him sweets that were not delicious and tasty. He clammed up after that. ;p

When you slice the frozen batter just leave it on top of the plastic bag. Then It won't stick to your cutting board.  If you use a freezer bag, they're thick enough to not cut with the knife when you chop it.
Oh and my Basil plant and I said our goodbyes.  It was a nice 17/18 days knowing ya. Next time I'll take the survivor leaves and freeze them chopped up or something. Either that or I need to find two weeks worth of recipes that involve Basil.  Will either of those things I just mentioned happen, probably not.

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