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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao Nibs, Pink Pepper & Fleur de Sel ~ 巧克力鹽之花胡椒奶油酥餅


Many of you remind me that I should update my blog more regularly but I have been preoccupied with projects and things other than desserts lately. What have been keeping me busy? I have been working on the making of my summer wardrobe, practicing point de croix (cross-stitching), taking dance classes and putting together a friend’s wedding in August; not much but just enough to drain my energy and drag me away from the kitchen for now. Nevertheless, I did manage to squeeze an hour to bake this shortbread, something that has been on my to-bake list for a while. Adopted from a recipe by Elizabeth Falkner in The Essence of Chocolate, this chocolate shortbread is another favorite of mine since I discovered these matcha shortbreads.

I first baked these chocolate shortbreads to nibble on the drive to a friend’s wedding up in Lake Tahoe. Though friends are used to my pick of unusual flavor combinations in desserts & pastries, few were still surprised with this “salty” cookies. Most thought they were too rich and odd with a salty sweet flavor but a few thought the saltiness added a kick to the chocolaty cookie. As for me, these shortbreads are quite intriguing, the perfect balance of sweet and savory. They have an intensely rich buttery chocolate flavor, the sweetness of the chocolate pairs especially well with the mineral notes in fleur de sel sea salt. The fleur de sel and chocolate combination just enticing, seductive and simply brilliant! Bitterness, acidity, sweetness, astringency and saltiness are inherent to chocolate and fleur de sel sea salt brings out and enhances these spectacular dimensions of flavor in chocolate, emphasizing its aromatic and bittersweet note.

Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao Nibs, Pink Pepper & Fleur de Sel

Again I baked these chocolate shortbreads this past weekend because I had a craving for it. However, I added another spice to the dough and that is ground pink peppers. It has a sweet, mild taste not pungent like the regular ripe pepper fruits, which I think further enhances the chocolate flavor. I think other spices like cumin, lavender would also work but take care not to add too much because you want to enhance (or balance) not overpower the chocolate flavor. Also, they are quite rich so enjoy them with a cup of good tea or serve with sorbet like I did - click here for the chocolate sorbet recipe ~

Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao Nibs, Pink Pepper & Fleur de Sel – yields 30
Adapted from Elizabeth Falkner’s recipe in The Essence of Chocolate

1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup + 2 tbsp cacao nibs, crushed with a rolling pin
½ tsp pink pepper, finely grinded
1 tsp fleur de sel sea salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

I thought you should know:
- The dough can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Make sure to press the cookie cutter hard into the dough to get a clean cut. Take care to keep the shape by shaking the cutter slightly before pushing out the dough.
- To preserve the crispiness, shortbreads must be completely cooled before being stored in an airtight container.

Combine flour and cocoa powder then sift the flour mixture into a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the cocoa nibs, sea salt and pink pepper. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla extract then add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add in the remaining flour mixture, stopping as necessary to scrape down the bowl. Once incorporated, mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until well combined. Mix in the nibs + salt + pepper mixture and mix until evenly distributed.

On a lightly floured board or between two pieces of parchment paper, roll the dough into a square ¼ inch (7mm) thick. Cut into 1 by 2.5 inch (2.5cm by 6.5cm)rectangles or stamp out other desired shape using cookie cutters, and place on the prepared pans about 1 inch (2.5cm) apart.

Bake for 20 minutes. It is sometimes difficult to tell when these are done; however, one of the best indications is the smell of baked cookies in the air. When the cookies are nudged, they shouldn’t feel soft, but the bottoms should seem crisp.

Remove from the oven and transfer shortbreads to a cooling rack to cool completely. The shortbreads can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Chocolate sorbet + chocolate shortbreads = I'm happy =)
my new favorite cookie



對它的味道念念不忘﹐在剛過去的週末又再次烤了這個酥餅。聽說胡椒﹑鹽跟巧克力是充滿魅力的組合﹐所以加了粉紅胡椒來提味。品嘗酥餅時吃不到辛辣味﹐但巧克力味很濃郁﹗好像是粉紅胡椒辣味不強﹐但帶有獨特的香氣﹐能讓巧克力更出色鮮明的原因吧﹗如果你想嘗試搭配其它的香料﹐注意不要使用過量的香料﹐因為過量反而會干擾巧克力原有的香氣。不得不說口感是有點厚重﹐建議佐杯解膩的好茶又或是像我這樣佐杯巧克力雪酪享用 ~

homemade chocolate sorbet

巧克力鹽之花胡椒奶油酥餅 – 約30塊
食譜摘自The Essence of Chocolate

1杯 麵粉
¾杯 無糖可可粉
¼杯 + 2湯匙 可可豆碎(桿壓成碎末)
½茶匙 粉紅胡椒﹐ 磨碎
1茶匙 鹽之花海鹽
12湯匙 無盬奶油(室溫放軟﹐切丁)
½杯 砂糖
1茶匙 香草精

- 酥餅麵糰如果不立刻使用﹐用保鮮膜包好﹐再放冰箱存放約1個星期﹐若放冰格可存放2個月。
- 用餅乾模具吸出麵糰時一定要大力的按下出﹐左右搖晃幾下﹐這樣麵糰才會輕易的脫出。
- 酥餅烤好後一定要在鋼架放涼後存放﹐否則就不會有酥脆的口感。

將可可粉和麵粉混合拌勻後﹐篩過備用。將可可豆碎﹑鹽之花﹑磨碎的粉紅胡椒混合倒進另一個容器中﹐攪拌勻後備用。 烤箱預熱至325°F/165°C。在餅乾烤盤上鋪上烤盤紙﹐備用。


將麵糰放在撒上麵粉的工作台上﹐揉成四方形條狀﹐再輕壓成1寸乘2 ½ 寸(2.5cm乘6.5cm)的長方形狀。將麵糰切成¼寸(7mm)的厚片或是將麵糰桿成約厚¼寸(7mm)後﹐再用餅乾模具吸出麵糰。以1寸/2.5cm之距排放在鋪了烤紙的烤盤上﹐放入烤箱烤20分鐘或是烤到酥餅變硬即可。取出﹐放網架上靜置放涼。酥餅放密閉式容器中可存放1個星期。


  1. VI的生活真是丰富多彩.哈哈~希望很快能看到漂亮的嫁衣.收到嫁衣的朋友真是幸福,肯定兴奋地不行~

  2. Those look incredible! So does the sorbet. I might have to try these.

  3. 依個餅食過後,真係令人回味~~~

  4. 有時口感及口味很個人的,不是人人相同,愛品嚐的人,會慢慢欣賞,慢慢品嚐它的味道呀!!!

  5. Hi there, this is the first time to visit your page.
    You are such a great baker! Hope we can exchange some time.


  6. Sweet Temptation6/12/2009 3:24 PM


  7. 睇了你整的‘艺术品’甘耐,终于忍不住要留言。。。因为无论你整的甜品,影的相实在太靓。而且你真的很用心写blog,仲无私地同大家分享食谱~好多谢你呀!

  8. The shortbread look FABULOUS! Found you on Tastespotting. Beautiful blog you have here!

  9. 口味呢家嘢真係人人唔同,正如有人鍾意食黑力,有人鍾意食白力一樣.


  10. Hi Vi, 好高兴又能浏览你的部落格..在大陆的时候,完全上不了...不知道多想登录,怎么也打不开..现在好了:)
    shortbread哦..照片上看着就好吃无敌,这个加盐的有点点sophisticated味道的饼干,一定是香浓无敌的吧~~~ 就是热量有点点高~~btw,这么忙,一定要注意合理的休息,身体健康才是革命的本钱啊:)哈~~~


  11. "Many of you remind me that I should update my blog more regularly ..."

    Totally agree!! Haha!!

  12. Fist time here! pictures are so beautiful! I'll come soon...

  13. wow, you sure are busy! Great recipe! Wonderful shots as usual =)

  14. These cookies sound great! The peppercorns and fleur de sel would accent the chocolate nicely, and they look pretty on top.

  15. 是呀﹐口味這種東西真的是見人見智 =)

    嘿嘿。。。其實我的正業是fashion designer﹐甜點學徒才是副業啦。婚紗並不難﹐難在要如何讓新娘滿意。設計這種東西也是見人見智 ;)

    Katy - 黑胡椒應該也可以。粉紅胡椒不是很稀少的東西﹐應該不難找的。

  16. Thanks all for dropping by and for your kind comments =)


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