Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread [and behind the scenes!]

Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread

I’m usually the one behind the camera when I’m blogging. I cook in my no-so-photogenic kitchen and shoot the finished product using a simple setup in my dining room. With three little ones running around, I don’t always get a chance to get in front of the camera or snap many process shots.

A couple months ago, friends of ours stayed at our house while they were in town for a wedding—and since one of those friends is a super talented photographer, I took advantage. Despite my outdated cabinets and the fact that it was dark in my house that morning due to impending thunderstorms, I love what Taylor Rae Photography captured. You can see my little ones running around and my flour covered counters. I’ll admit my kitchen usually looks way messier, and I often wear yoga pants and a top-knot. But other than that, this is basically what it looks like when I’m trying to capture recipes for the blog. (What you can’t see in pictures, though, is the chaotic noise level from my kids.)

We shot my recipe for Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread. I based it off my Mix + Match Shortbread and used almond extract instead of vanilla. Originally I intended to dip the cookies in white chocolate but made a last minute adjustment using chocolate chips I had on hand. It’s a flexible recipe, though, so use whatever you want! You can also drizzle on both white and milk chocolate instead of dipping for a different look, try pistachios instead of almonds, or top them with a little sea salt.

Scroll down for the recipe!

Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread | Sarah J. Hauser #baking #foodphotography #cookies #shortbread

Chocolate Dipped Almond Shortbread
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Adapted from Ina Garten

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6-8 ounces dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
A handful of almonds, roughly chopped (just eyeball it)

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Mix in the almond extract along with two teaspoons of water.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until ingredients are fully incorporated.

Place the dough on a floured surface and form into a log shape. Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and slice it into about ½ inch slices. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring frequently. Dip the cooled shortbread cookies into the chocolate and then lay them out on parchment paper.

Sprinkle on the chopped almonds, gently pressing them into the melted chocolate so they stick. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before serving. (You can place the cookies in the refrigerator to speed up this process.)

Serve and enjoy!


All the photos in this post were taken by Taylor Rae Photography. Head over to her website to see more of Taylor’s incredible work!


Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Almost every week, I show up at a friend’s house with a car seat slung over my elbow and two toddlers in tow. We let ourselves in the back mudroom door, and I try to remember to take my kids’ shoes off—although more often than not, I never bothered to put shoes on their feet in the first place. My twins make their way into the kitchen and I set the car seat in the corner, praying the baby stays asleep a little longer.

My son climbs behind the armchair in the playroom to retrieve the box of trains, and my daughter heads to the white, child-sized table to color. There are four of us that get together nearly every week, twelve kids between us all. A handful of the kids are at school during the day, so only having eight or nine kids around feels almost calm.

We attempt to catch up on life or discuss the book we’re reading together, but of course those discussions are interrupted by refereeing playtime or the crash of crayons being dumped. We can barely speak a full sentence without a baby crying or someone needing a diaper change. (More than once, I’ve changed a diaper only to realize on my drive home I left the dirty one on my friend’s living floor. I’ve considered not saying anything out of embarrassment, but I opt to send a quick text message apologizing and sheepishly asking her to toss the abandoned diaper.)

Once the chaos and noise level come to a head, we gather the tiny humans together for a snack. Maybe that’ll keep them busy enough for us to talk just a few more minutes. We divvy out veggie straws and raisins, crackers and fruit. It’s not uncommon for me to end up staying through lunchtime, in which case out comes the turkey, cheese, and bread.

But I never bring the snacks.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]
Almond, Coconut + Date Bites [and showing up empty-handed]

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl

Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl | Sarah J. Hauser

I keep seeing smoothie bowl recipes pop up on food blogs and all over social media, and for a while, I couldn't figure out what the big deal was. But to be honest, after enjoying a few versions of smoothie bowls over the last couple weeks, I've jumped on the bowl bandwagon.

First, they're photogenic. Let's just be honest and admit that's why many of us like posting photos of them on Instagram. Second, it's all about the toppings. I don't know why, but it's just so fun to go crazy with toppings. Whether it's over ice cream, a blended soup, a plate of tortilla chips or a smoothie bowl, these "blank canvas foods" provide a tasty backdrop for whatever we can dream up to throw on them. 

Third - and most important - smoothie bowls require we sit down. I love regular smoothies, but I usually eat them on the run. With a smoothie bowl, you've gotta pull up a chair, grab a spoon and actually sit down and enjoy. It's a breakfast you can whip up quickly, but is meant to be savored. 

Are you a fan of the bowl? What are your go-to toppings? 

Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl | Sarah J. Hauser
Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl | Sarah J. Hauser
Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl | Sarah J. Hauser
Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl | Sarah J. Hauser

Cherry Almond Smoothie Bowl
Yields about 16 ounces (not including toppings)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 heaping cup frozen, pitted cherries
3 Medjool dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup whole milk
Toppings (such as almonds, unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped dates, chia seeds)

Add the yogurt, cherries, dates, almond butter and vanilla to a blender. Add a splash of milk and blend until smooth. Add additional milk until you reach the desired consistency.

Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings such as almonds, unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped dates or chia seeds. Grab a spoon, dig in and enjoy!