Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Almond Bark Shortbread

by Darla

The other night the hubster and I were FaceTime-ing it, and there was a total glitch in the matrix.

Somehow, for some reason, he could see and hear me perfectly, except my voice was all distorted. He was a-okay. I could hear him and see him, and all sounded as it should., but I sounded all wonky and mechanical.

He told me I sounded like a Dalek.

I proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes making my husband laugh so hard it was silent. You know what I’m talking about…that laugh that makes zero sound. You’re cracking up, but it’s like someone hit the ‘mute’ button…that’s how the hubster was laughing.

I couldn’t help it. The instant he told me that I sounded like a Dalek, I proceeded to claim that Daleks are the supreme beings and I needed to exterminate!

This is how I amuse myself.

I think the best part might have been when I ducked away from the screen and held one of my tiny Dalek dolls up instead.

Then, what’s that we hear? It’s only the TARDIS, i.e. my text sound, playing as I bring my phone into view, followed closely by the Doctor and his trusty sonic screwdriver.

Hubs thought I was weird when I said I wanted those dolls.

I know, we won’t discuss the fact that he called me weird, when he’s the one who isn’t a Whovian. Whatevs.

But I’m pretty sure that I proved the other night that they were worth every cent.

Also, I’m pretty sure I proved to him that I’m just as immature as he’s always suspected…

I know that’s part of my charm, so I’m not worried.

Just in case, though, I made him some cookies.

Shortbread, cause they’re his favorite. I dressed them up for the holidays, and all was merry and bright.

Then I went back to playing with my dolls and totally had Harry and the gang team up with the Doctor and Amy to defeat the Daleks and the Weeping Angels in an epic battle of wits and magic against terror and dry eyes.

Win.

As for the cookies, I started the recipe with a basic shortbread. It can be made on it’s own, and is excellent with hot tea or espresso, but I may never make plain shortbread again.

You can bake the shortbread in a shortbread pan, or you can make individual cookies, like I did in my original shortbread recipe. This time, I chose to shape all of the dough into one large rectangle, to make it easier to make the bark on top.

You don’t have to add the holes on top, but I’ve found that it helps the chocolate stick a little better. When it melts, it seeps a bit into the holes, helping them stick together. You can also skip the sugar on top…if you want…but, I mean…why?

When you remove the shortbread from the oven, turn the oven off right away, because you’ll use the warm oven again, but you don’t want it to be too hot. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the shortbread and allow them to sit for five minutes, then spread the melty chips over the shortbread. Sprinkle on dried cranberries and white chocolate, and place the cookies back in the oven for two minutes. When you remove them, allow to sit for three minutes before spreading the white chocolate. Finish up by sprinkling sliced almonds on top.

Once the chocolate sets up, chop the cookies up into chunks.

You can make this recipe with any bark that you like, but I love the cranberry-chocolate-almond flavors around the holidays. I think peppermint bark would be absolutely divine on this shortbread, and it’s also an excellent holiday flavor.

And, of course, you can simply make the bark on it’s own. It’s totally worth it….so yum!

When I first made these cookies (the batch in this photo, in fact), I only used half of the chocolate that I list in the recipe. It needs twice as much of the chocolate. It’s just perfection that way. I’ve made it both ways now, and it’s perfection with twice as much chocolate. Per. Fection.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Almond Bark Shortbread [Printable Version]

Ingredients

**If you’re able to find vegan chocolate and sugars, these cookies can be made vegan/dairy-free**

1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup (113 grams) confectioners’ sugar (double check for gluten free)
2 1/4 cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour (can be replaced with Gluten Free flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar (for dusting)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the salt and flour and continue beating until everything is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles wet sand with large clumps.

Using your hands, press all of the crumbs together in the bowl until it all forms a cohesive dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time, until the dough just sticks together.

Shape as desired and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden brown.

Immediately turn off the oven (you will need to use the warm oven later.

As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, sprinkle the semi-sweet chips over the top evenly. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate evenly over the top.

Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the melted chocolate, then top with the white chocolate. Place the sheet in the still-warm oven for 2 minutes, then remove and allow to stand for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the white chocolate is shiny. Spread the white chocolate evenly over the cookies, being careful not to scrape the cranberries around. Sprinkle the top of the cookies with the sliced almonds.

Allow the chocolate to set before slicing. You can speed the process by chilling the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer. Slice cookies into 2- by 2-inch pieces before serving.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more December 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

See those look so good, and the Dr who stuff, I have no clue, but it sounds like something I would do, jut to bug Hubby.

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2 Whitney December 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

This … looks amazing. Is there any way to use fresh cranberries instead of craisin’s? Perhaps I should investigated via the Google.

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3 Kathia December 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

Perfect recipe for a bag of almonds that I got on sale at the grocery store the other day. Thanks for sharing, great pictures!

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4 Jessica December 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

This is brilliant. I will now have to make these. (duh) And Dalek Darla has a nice ring to it.

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5 Ashley December 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Delicious! And WHERE did you find those amazing dolls?? I think my sister needs some. And maybe I do too.

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6 Jenny December 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I have shortbread on my christmas baking list anyway, this obviously makes it 1000x better. Screw the plain shortbread.

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7 Dana at Cooking at Cafe D December 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Your hubby doesn’t like Doctor Who?
Seriously? (Sorry, had to be punny there…we love Tenant.)

I didn’t even know they made Dalek and the Doctor figurines. Tell us there are Weeping Angels and our Christmas list will be complete.

I’ve never tried a shortbread. I fear them.
Not like “Don’t Blink” fear.
Like, “This is gonna be tough enough to break a tooth” fear.
But, I might try these. Pinned em so I remember.

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8 MelindaB December 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Dana, in the picture of Darla’s phone, you can see a Weeping Angel behind The Doctor.

Doctor Who toys are cool–I must have some!

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9 Tina@flourtrader December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Ha-shortbread will never be the same again! After reading this you realize that shortbread is just a canvas for other goodies on top…yummy. Saved it and saved from blah shortbread!

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10 Choc Chip Uru December 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

This is a beauitul take on shortbread cookies :)

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11 Francesca December 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Thank you for this recipe. Looking forward to making this. Happy holidays.

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12 Kerry December 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

This looks amazing/you have the best life ever. I love your sparkly Tardis phone!

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13 Krissy's Creations December 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Bark on Shortbread?! Holy YUM!!!

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14 Becca December 8, 2011 at 12:38 am

I have had those mute laughing moments. It hurts to breathe, but the quietness of it makes me laugh harder I’ve turned tomato red before because I couldn’t breathe, but it was funny all the same.

These shortbread bar cookies look devine! I want some to dunk in my milk.

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15 Alexandra December 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Genius! Pure genius! Where do you come up with these things!?! Look’s so good :)

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16 Clarissa December 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

The recipe looks amazing, but I’m honestly still fixated on the Doctor Who dolls. Where did you get them?!?

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17 Kelly December 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I…Love…Your…Phone!

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18 Kristan H December 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

Where did you get the Doctor Who figures!!! Love them!

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19 Darla December 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hi Kristan, I actually got mine as a gift from my hubs. :) I believe he got them on eBay, though. Although, I think they sell them more widely now…they are made by a company called Character Building. They’re the same size as lego figures. I LOVE THEM! :)

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20 Danielle December 11, 2011 at 11:30 am

These look delicious! Do you think they would freeze okay for the week while I make my cookie boxes?

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21 Darla December 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Hi Danielle, I think they would freeze okay. I’ve never frozen them, so I can’t speak from experience. I do know that the actual shortbread dough freezes nicely on it’s own, before baking. I hope this is helpful. :)

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22 Nicholle December 19, 2011 at 11:31 am

Hi, great recipes! We are just going gluten free due to me having ulcerative colitis and going through a horrible flare up. Anyways I just made the shortbread and mine flattened/spread out a lot. What did I do wrong? I made my own gluten free all purpose flour, thinking I might have needed to add something else with the flour mix? I am sure they will still taste great though, as I was eating quite a bit of the dough!

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23 Darla December 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Hi Nicholle, It sounds like the butter was just a little too soft and the dough too warm.Next time, chill the shaped cookies for 15 to 20 minutes before baking them, and that should help.

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24 Francesca December 22, 2011 at 6:13 am

Hello Darla. How long will these stay fresh/last for? I would like to make some for christmas day with the intention of baking it today (Thursday) is that too early? Thank you. xx

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25 Darla December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Francesca, they stay pretty fresh (in an airtight container) for a few days. I think the bark on top helps. Fortunately, they’re dry anyway, so they don’t dry out, but I would wait one more day to bake them if you could. I felt like they were best for the first couple of days after baking. If you can spare one more day, I would. You could even prepare the dough (including shaping it) today, refrigerate it, and bake them tomorrow. Just allow them to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking them. I hope this is helpful!

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