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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hazelnut Fleur De Sel Caramel Shortbread

makes 18 cookies
shortbread recipe adapted from
fleur de sel caramel adapted from Martha Stewart
prep time: 45 min / cook time: 15-18 min

1/2 c hazelnuts, coursely ground
1 c all-purpose flour
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 c cold butter (1 stick), cubed
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped OR 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 c sugar
1/4 c water
1/4 c heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

• In a food processor, coursely grind hazelnuts and set aside.
• Place the flour and brown sugar in a food processor and pulse a couple of time to combine.
• Add butter to the flour mixture in the food processor. Process until mixture clings together and starts to form a ball.
• Remove the dough from the processor and place on a smooth surface.
• Sprinkle the vanilla, chopped hazelnuts and chopped chocolate over the dough.
• Knead briefly by hand just until the vanilla, hazelnuts and chocolate are incorporated.
* I did the mixing process with a paddle attachment on my mixer. Don't worry if the dough doesn't come together after adding the butter, it will form a ball when you add the vanilla, hazelnuts and chocolate.
• Transfer the dough to a sealable plastic bag. Place the bag on a flat surface and, leaving the top of the plastic bag unzippered, flatten out in a disk or rectangle.
• Seal the plastic bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
• When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325˚ F.
• Slit open the plastic bag and turn the firm dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Lightly flour the top side of the dough and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough to 1/4” thickness.
• Cut out cookies with a 2” cookie cutter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch in between each cookie.
* Optional: sprinkle a little bit of fleur de sel on top of half the cookies.
• Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 10 minutes.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until edges start to turn golden-brown.
• Transfer shortbread cookies to a rack to cool completely.

* Please read my notes below before starting.
• Place the sugar and water in a 3 quart heavy-bottom saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Without stirring, bring the mixture to a boil and cook until golden amber in color, about 5 minutes, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Remove from heat.
* I occasionally swirled the pan around.
• Carefully pour the cream down the sides of the pan (it will spatter and bubble) whisking constantly, until fully combined.
• Whisk in the butter and fleur de sel until smooth.
* There are no pictures of the cream and butter stage. I had to work quickly so the sugar didn't seize up.
• Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let cool slightly before filling the cookies.

• When cookies and caramel have cooled, spoon or pipe about 1 teaspoon caramel filling onto the flat side of each of the whole cookies. Top with cut cookies, keeping flat sides down.
• Let caramel set for at least 2 hours.

Cookies can be kept, layered between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

• Have all your ingredients and tools laid out when making the caramel. There will be no time to run to the refrigerator to grab cream and butter. You need to work very quickly.
• Be sure to use an oversized pot when making the caramel. It will bubble and rise when you add the cream. Any pot under 2 quarts might be too small.
• Boiled sugar water can go from light amber to dark (burnt) amber VERY quickly. Do not take your eyes off the pot! As you take the pot off the fire, it will continue to cook so, when you get a light-medium amber, take the caramel off the fire. Use this as a guide to get familiar with the correct golden amber color.
• If your sugar turns to molasses (burnt), as mines did the first two attempts, you can clean your pot by heating it and gently scraping the burnt sugar off. It will be very hot, so do not attempt to lift it with your fingers. After scraping the molasses out, fill the pot with water and boil to soften the residue.




Lisa said...

Oh my gosh, what a flavor for shortbread. These sound like they have a lot of depth. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till tomorrow night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your shortbread up.

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