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Author Notes: Nine years ago, a recipe for her Mocha Shortbread was shared with me by Nancy Joy Evans in Mendocino CA. And for awhile now, I have been filled with a hankering to explore 'surprise fillings' in cookies. This recipe is the fruition of those inspirations! The mocha shortbreads are very chocolatey- containing as much cocoa as flour, and with the buzz of ground coffee beans and the kick of black pepper and cayenne.
Fillings are actually inside the shortbreads, not sandwiched in between individual cookies(remember- I wanted a Surprise inside- and a sandwiched filling would be giving it away!) I eventually explored these fillings: Gianduja, Peanut butter truffle, Amaretto truffle, Almond butter, Peanut butter, Green tea, and Candied orange. I realized the mocha shortbreads were so rich on their own that putting chocolate inside them was just too much, overkill. I settled on the last three as my favorite surprise filings. Then I worked out a way that one batch of shortbread could have three different fillings- for variety's sake! So now you can try one of each, all in the same batch. After all... we pass this way but once! —inspiredbyyou
Makes: 12 surprise-filled 3" mocha shortbread rounds
Kickin' Mocha Shortbread base
pound unsalted butter- cold, cut in cubes
cups powdered sugar
cups all purpose flour
teaspoon kosher salt
cup good quality ground coffee beans, dark roast,
8 turns coarse black pepper grinder
- With paddle, combine butter and sugar in mixer til well combined. Add remaining til just combined. Taste; add more pepper or cayenne as needed. Remove to container.This can be done a day ahead of assembly and left, covered, at room temperature (as long as it's not a hot summer day.)
Advance preparation and freezing of Green Tea filling, Peanut Butter filling,Candied Orange filling; Assembly of filled shortbreads
ounces white chocolate chunks, melted
ounces heavy cream
teaspoons green tea powder
ounce pure peanut butter, smooth or chunky
ounces high quality candied clementine or orange peel ( use this recipe:
- Bring cream just to a boil and remove from heat; add white chocolate and stir thoroughly. Add in green tea powder and combine thoroughly.Taste; if still too sweet, add more green tea powder.Freeze mixture a day before use.
- Freeze peanut butter.
- Prepare candied clementine or orange peel left in large unjulienned pieces. Using a round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter smaller than the diameter of a muffin , cut out four rounds of candied clementine peel.
- Just before assembly, remove peanut butter and green tea filling from freezer.
- To assemble and bake: In each of the 12 muffin cups place about 0.8 ounce mocha shortbread dough. Tamp down gently but evenly with the 'feed-tube pusher' from a cuisinart, or another cylindrical object, with a flat bottom, that is a slightly smaller diameter than the muffin cup.
- In four of the muffin cups, place 4 rounds of candied orange peel. In four other muffin cups, place one 0.2- 0.3 ounce piece of frozen peanut butter, formed into a disc shape a little smaller than the muffin cup. In the last 4 muffin cups, place a 0.3 ounce piece of green tea filling, formed into a disc shape a little smaller than the muffin cup.
- Place on top of each filling about 0.8 ounces of mocha dough, pressing down gently but evenly , as before.Tilt the pusher around the muffin cup edge to make sure the top dough makes contact with the bottom dough around the filling. If filling shows through the top, add a little more dough to cover. Shortbreads should be about 3/4 inch high. Chill the muffin tin at least an hour.Place the muffin tin on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 16 minutes. Cool on rack.
- After shortbreads have cooled, refrigerate the muffin tin in a plastic bag. After a day, run a thin bladed blunt ended knife down the edge of each shortbread at points N, S, E, and W. They should then come right out , but if not loose enough, continue to run the knife around the perimeter of each one until they loosen and rise up. For the biggest surprise factor, serve them whole! (But if they're just for you and yours, you may want to cut them into quarters because they are so rich.)