My office looks like a crazy person lives there. A cookbook hoarder. A food crazed nut-job.
For years, my notes appeared in the margins of cookbooks. As I prepared a recipe, I inked-in my ideas, crossing out ingredients or adding ingredients, changing cooking times and scribbling ways that I thought would make the dish tastier.
Ah, hah. Then the digital age hit, and in addition to cathy-ized cookbooks, now I have recipes pulled from the Internet with notes. Clutter times ten.
Three-ring binders hold run-from-the-net recipes and formulas that I have created. But, then, how do I find them? Plus, there are the photos of those dishes that I’ve taken. Too many recipes/photos are rumbling around in my noggin and piled on my desk.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Gillard, executive chef at the Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles says that he bought a Kindle, punched in e-versions of dozens of his favorite cookbooks. The recipes that he writes himself, he emails to himself, so he can put them on his Kindle.
Guillard is considering upgrading to an iPad. I think it’s time for me to buy an iPad. My first question to the Apple techies? So how do I get my valuable scribbles into the online text?
How ’bout some chocolate shortbread from my friend Dana Jacobi’s cookbook, “Cook and Freeze”?
Mexican Chocolate Shortbread
Yield: 12 pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Cook’s notes: To make superfine sugar, place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse 4 or 5 times. Measure 1/4 cup for this recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut butter into small pieces and chill until hard, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, use a wooden spoon to work the butter and sugar until well combined, 2 minutes. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix to form soft dough, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to an 8-inch round cake pan: with your fingers, working from the center out, pat the dough into an even layer in the pan, then use the back of a metal spoon to smooth it. Chill 20 minutes.
4. With a sharp knife, score the chilled dough into quarters. Then with the tines of a fork, pierce the shortbread in two rings, making the first 2 inches from the outer edge and the second one closer to the center of the pan.
5. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven or until center is dry to the touch and the edge is starting to darken. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the pan. Invert pan and press gently to help unmold the shortbread. Flip the shortbread back to topside up. Using a long, sharp knife (not serrated), cut shortbread into 12 wedges and cool completely on the rack. Store shortbread in airtight container or wrapped in foil. It keeps at room temperature for a week, tightly sealed.
For serving now: If possible, let the baked shortbread sit for 24 hours.
To freeze: Wrap the cooled shortbread in plastic freezer wrap, then heavy-duty foil and freeze.
To defrost and serve: Unwrap the frozen shortbread and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information (per wedge): 136 calories, 40 percent of calories from fat, 8.3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 213 mg sodium, 0.4 g fiber
Source: “Cook and Freeze” by Dana Jacobi
Dutch processed cocoa is essential in this recipe, as is ground cinnamon.