Cocoa Nib Shortbread

Cocao nib shortbread-2

If you’ve never had the opportunity to taste cocoa nibs (roasted bits of whole cocoa beans), you really need to! They have a much more complex flavor than either chocolate or cocoa powder. They are a bit earthy, floral, and still very chocolaty. They also have an amazing crunch! I’m lucky enough to have access to cocoa nibs in bulk from my local grocery store. If you don’t then you can buy them here. They are also amazing to steep in milk or cream for panna cotta or even just hot cocoa!

Cocao nib shortbread

Cocoa Nib Shortbread

adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
makes 40-50 cookies

2 cups – Whole wheat pastry flour (you could also use a combo of 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole what flour)
14 Tbs. – Butter, unsalted room temperature
½ cup – Sugar
¼ tsp – Salt
1 tsp – Vanilla extract
1/3 cup – Roasted cocoa nibs
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla with the paddle attachment on medium speed for about 2 minutes. You want it to be smooth and lighter but not whipped. Add the cocoa nibs and beat just long enough until they are evenly distributed in the butter. Add the flour and again beat until everything is just mixed.
Dump the dough onto the counter and quickly knead it until it comes together and form it into a rough log shape about 12 inched long. Transfer this to a piece of cling film and tightly wrap it and shape it into a smoother log. Place in the refrigerator to set overnight or at least for a few hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet with parchment or use a baking stone. Unwrap the dough and using a sharp knife, cut off ¼ inch slices and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let cool on the sheet briefly and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Mothers Day 2014-20

Mother’s Day 2014 – 10 Course Dinner

My favorite post of the year is here again! For those of you new to my blog, I throw an over-the-top Mother’s day dinner every year. This year I scaled back the courses and only did 10 courses. In the past I’ve done as many as 13 and 14. Instead I focused on plating and added non-alcoholic pairings with each course (I don’t drink). Some of the dishes will eventually end up as posts here, but many will remain as fun glimpses of what you can do at home in your own kitchen! As always, a special thanks to Brian for taking the photos and to my wonderful guests who also helped with the dinner!

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I like to invite as many people as I can fit in my house for this dinner. One thing I’ve found, is with a dinner like this, a few more plates really isn’t much more work. This year we had 13 guests. When they arrived, we had decorated the tables in purples and yellows with hints of green. Watch for these colors to reappear in courses throughout the dinner.

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Here is this year’s bread basket. About half of these breads were made by me. Due to time constraints, I purchases some of the breads from an excellent local baker.

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1st Course – Blini Two Ways

One with duck confit, sour cherry, and peanut brittle dust

The other with a roasted beet salad with Pave de Jardis aged chevre

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2nd Course – Soup

Pea and leek soup with crème fraiche, crushed gingersnap, and pea shoots

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3rd Course – Grilled Asparagus Salad

Roasted asparagus, poached quail egg, prosciutto crisps, and miso butter

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A busy kitchen

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4th Course – Fish

Skate, forbidden rice, root vegetables, yuzu Béarnaise sauce, caviar

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5th Course – Rabbit

Rabbit wrapped in chard, millet, carrots, pickled ramps, merlot glaze

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6th Course – Palate Cleanser

Shiso granité with lime curd

This was a crowd favorite!

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7th Course – “Beef Wellington”

Tender loin, puff pastry, duxelles, roasted potatoes, green pepper mustard sauce, crispy kale, candied pecans

This may be a fancified version of a classic dish, but it was so tasty! I couldn’t resist.

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8th Course – Cheese

Selection of local cheeses, fig loaf, prosciutto, and roasted nuts

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I had fun making the hardwood boards that the cheese course and petite fours were served on.

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Good bread and cheese, does it get any better?

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Happy guests, starting to get full!

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9th Course – Dessert

Lilac panna cotta, honey gelato, honey/pecan popcorn, pecan crumble, dandelion gelee

This course had a many different textures and flavors.

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10th Course – Petite Fours

Cocoa nib shortbread, almond chocolates, quince pate de fruits