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 Despite my outdated cabinets and the fact that it was dark in my house that morning due to impending thunderstorms, I love what Taylor Rae Photography captured.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!


Double Chocolate Christmas Cookies [two ways!]

Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser

When I first made these cookies, I intended only to bake the mint chocolate version I grew up eating every Christmas. Maybe you’ve seen similar recipes before. Basically, you make a simple chocolate dough and then melt an Andes mint on top. They’re a family favorite (except with family members who dislike mint in their desserts). I happen to love mint in most desserts, and these cookies are no exception.

I shared the classic Mint Chocolate Cookies below. But as is typical when I cook, I didn’t have enough ingredients on hand to finish the whole batch. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? What I lacked in mint chocolate I had in dark chocolate, so I popped a few pieces of dark chocolate on top of a dozen of the cookies, and then sprinkled on a pinch of flaky sea salt.

You guys. This sea salt version may be my favorite cookie ever (or at least in the top three). The key is the salt. Not all salt is created equal, and it’s worth finding really good flaky sea salt for this recipe. I originally tried it with fleur de sel I had on hand, but what I had was finer than I wanted (however, it will work if that’s what you have easy access to. The fleur de sel I have is from Trader Joe’s). Thanks to a pantry filled with random items including several different kinds of salt, I had a bag of Alaska Pure Sea Salt. You want big, flaky pieces of sea salt here. Sea salt dissolves easily in your mouth and complements the dark chocolate so well. Plus, the large pieces look amazing against the deep chocolate color of the cookies—like little flecks of snow.

If you don’t love the combination of salt and sweet, though, have no fear. Stick with the mint version, or create your own! The main cookie is a basic chocolate cookie, so you can use whatever you want on top—like peanut butter chips or white chocolate! You can also do like I did, and make a dozen or two of one version, and the rest a different version.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe.)

Double Chocolate Christmas Cookies [two ways!] | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate Christmas Cookies [two ways!] | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Andes Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser
Double Chocolate + Sea Salt Christmas Cookies | Sarah J. Hauser

Double Chocolate Christmas Cookies [two ways!]
Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
2 Tablespoons water
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Mint Chocolate or Chocolate + Sea Salt Topping
2 (4.67 oz) packages Andes mint candy, each candy unwrapped
OR
About 8-9 ounces of dark chocolate, broken into chunks (you need 1 chunk for each cookie)
Flaky sea salt such as Alaska Pure Sea Salt

In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the butter, water, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter and sugar melt. Add the chocolate chips and stir until everything is melted and mixed together. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let it cool for 10-20 minutes.

Turn the mixer on high speed and add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the mixer to low speed. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing just until blended. (Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed.) Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the chilled dough into 1 to 1 ½-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes. Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, place an Andes mint or a dark chocolate chunk on each cookie. Let the chocolate melt a bit, then spread the melted chocolate over the cookie with a spoon. If you’re making the Chocolate + Sea Salt version, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt onto the melted dark chocolate.

Cool completely until the chocolate on top hardens. Store in the fridge or freezer, or serve. Enjoy!

Did you try these? Post a picture on Instagram and make sure to tag me (@sarah.j.hauser)! I’d love to see what’s happening in your kitchen!

Note: Want to know the difference between various salts? Check out this article from Real Simple.


Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking

Sometimes I dream up recipes in my head, and then when I actually make them, they're terrible - or just underwhelming. This was not one of those recipes. I have been daydreaming about bacon chocolate chip cookies for about a month now, and I finally made them. I threw a splash of bourbon into the recipe and used big 'ol chunks of dark chocolate.

They turned out to be everything I had hoped for – sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. Just make sure to store them out of sight as soon as possible. Otherwise you may be tempted to eat them all way to quickly. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything...)

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking
Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies - These cookies are sweet and salty, soft with a slight crunch, buttery, and rich. They're so amazingly addictive! Get the recipe at sarahjhauser.com! | Sarah J. Hauser #chocolate #chocolatechipcookies #bacon #sweets #cookies #baking

Bacon + Dark Chocolate Cookies
Yields about 5 dozen cookies

12 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the diced bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat left in the pan.

Measure out 1/3 cup of bacon fat and add to a large, microwave safe bowl. (For me, this was nearly all the bacon fat in the pan. If you don’t get enough fat, use butter to make up the remaining amount needed). Add in the butter, and heat gently in the microwave until the bacon fat and butter are completely melted. Cool slightly (so the eggs don’t get cooked when you add them).

Stir in the sugars, eggs, and bourbon. Mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Then add in the baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of flour, stirring after each cup of flour added.

Gradually add an additional ½ to 1 cup of flour until the dough reaches the desired consistency. I end up using at least 3 ¾ cups of flour total. More flour will yield a softer, rounder cookie.

Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and the bacon pieces, and mix until everything is evenly distributed.

Shape the dough into balls, 1 ½ inches in size, and place about 2 inches apart onto an parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown and crisp on top. Cool slightly and then remove cookies from baking sheet. Pour yourself a big glass of milk, and enjoy!


This post was originally featured at Lark + Linen.


Mix + Match Shortbread

Over the last couple years, shortbread has become one of my favorite cookies to make. It only takes a few ingredients to create a crunchy, buttery, sweet cookie that’s perfect alongside a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee. Simple, but delicious.

The best thing about shortbread, at least in my opinion, is that it’s the perfect blank canvas for showcasing a variety of flavor combinations. You can add nearly anything to the dough, like fruit, nuts, spices or herbs, without having to change the entire base recipe. It’s ideal for mixing and matching with whatever sounds good to you!

In the recipe below, I’m sharing how to make basic shortbread and then instructions for three different variations: cranberries with thyme, cinnamon with bourbon soaked dates and dark chocolate with smoked sea salt. The possibilities are endless, though, so use the base recipe to come up with your own creative versions!


Basic Shortbread
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Basic recipe from Ina Garten

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Mix in the vanilla 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. Serve and enjoy!

Cranberry + Thyme Shortbread

2-3 teaspoons dried thyme (or you can use chopped fresh thyme)
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
Turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar)

Follow the basic shortbread recipe above. Stir the thyme and cranberries into the dough. 

Before baking the cookies, sprinkle each one with a bit of turbinado sugar. The sweetness of the sugar complements the tart cranberries. Bake as directed above.

Cinnamon Shortbread with Bourbon Soaked Dates

1 cup chopped Medjool dates
¼ cup bourbon
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add the dates to a small bowl. Pour the bourbon over the dates to soak them. Set aside and continue making the basic recipe, mixing in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into the dough.

Strain the bourbon out of the dates. Stir the bourbon soaked dates into the shortbread. Bake as directed above.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Shortbread with Smoked Sea Salt

6 ounces dark chocolate
Smoked sea salt

Bake the basic shortbread recipe as directed and allow the cookies to cool.

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.

Before the chocolate completely cools and hardens, sprinkle it with a little smoked sea salt. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before serving. (You can place the cookies in the refrigerator to speed up this process.)