Friday, February 21, 2014

"Samoas" Shortbread...a week of chocolate caramel and coconut

A good question with sound advice shared by a friend this week...

Should you follow your heart or your head?  Hmm……here’s some food for thought.  The heart never lies, the head does.  We can over think, doubt, and rationalize almost anything, because the mind likes stability and a step-by-step process.  The heart, however, is nonlinear and sensing.  So while our minds often constrict us into believing that’s its best to stay put, not take risks, and avoid repeating the pain of the past, our hearts always know the way to our greatest happiness. (Research from Heart Health.)...thanks for sharing Judy.

With all of the quotes that float around now on the internet...I mean Pinterest has entire page devoted to pinning quotes...the meaning behind some of them gets a little watered down sometimes.  So when I received this blast tip this week at work, I knew immediately that I wanted to share it.  There are very few "quotes"/online advise tips that leave me thinking and wondering for a minute, but this one did.  

There are so many times that I can think of, in my life, that I have followed my head and not my heart.  That is not to say I haven't learned valuable lessons or aren't continuing to learn valuable lessons from those times.  This tip though, hit home with me.  It is my head that over complicates even the simplest of things...the things that are supposed to make life exciting, new, happy...etc.  But its hard sometimes to turn the head off and not over think everything, to just let things go when they are out of your control.  Plus, sometimes following your heart can just be scary, because a lot of the time it can mean putting yourself out there.  It is something though that we should all seek to do in life.  There are tough days when I have to go back and watch the Pep Talk from Kid remember that life isn't always about the easy path, but finding the one that leads to awesome for you...dream and "keep going and keep going and keep going."  "We can make everyday better for each other."

a simple view...

Sometimes my way to make the day better is just trying to bring a little sweetness to the world.  To share with you all some simple recipes, some complicated ones, and maybe just some fun ones.  This one is both simple and fun.  I was actually able to use the leftover ganache and toasted coconut from these "Samoas" cupcakes to make these "Samoas" shortbread.  This recipe is simple and if you choose to make the cupcakes in the same week or within a few weeks you will have the caramel all ready to go!  These were some of my favorite shortbread, so much so that I have already made them twice.  Enjoy!

"Samoas" Shortbread:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Chocolate Ganache: 
4 ounces semisweet
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/16 teaspoon coarse salt

Almost Brunt Caramel Sauce: (recipe from The Joy the Baker Cookbook)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons salted butter or (3 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted 
1  - 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

Make ahead - Caramel Sauce:
1.  Place a medium, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add the sugar, water and corn syrup to the warming pan.  Whisk the sugar occasionally as it begins to heat to ensure that the sugar cooks evenly.

2.  Cook the sugar to a nice dark copper color. The sugar will go from golden to dark copper fairly quickly.  To help control the sugar, turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool burner just before you reach the dark color you'd like.  The bottom of the pan will still be hot enough to continue to cook the sugar.

3.  Over low heat, whisk butter, all at once, into the copper-colored sugar.  When butter is melted, pour in the cream.  The mixture will bubble and froth, but keep mixing.  When bubbling subsides, add vanilla extract.  Stir.  The caramel might feel to loose. Don't worry; it will thicken as it cools.

4.  Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Preparing the shortbread:
1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fully combined.

2.  Then mix in the flour and salt until mixture is combined or shaggy.  Drop dough into the bottom of 9 x 9 inch pan and press down evenly.  Let chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just turning golden brown.  You want the shortbread to stay tender.  While the shortbread is cooling, prepare the ganache.

Preparing the ganache:
1.  Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate, and add salt. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't stir -- doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy).

2.  Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.

3.  Chocolate will often settle on the bottom or sides of the bowl.  Scrape dish with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of it. Let cool until mostly thickened, and a consistency not to runny but easy to spread on the cupcakes.

To assemble:
1.  Pour the chocolate ganache that is mostly cool over the cooled shortbread and spread out evenly.  Top with toasted coconut, then drizzle the warmed caramel sauce over top, followed by the melted semi-sweet chocolate.  The choice is yours on how much caramel and chocolate you want to add...I mean is there really such a thing as too much?.  Let the shortbread stand at room temperature 1-2 hours or in the refrigerator for a quick 10 minutes to set the ganache.  Cut in rectangles or squares and Enjoy!

*If you are not serving them right away, store at room temperature in an airtight container.

No comments:

Post a Comment