Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dinner: Cheese & Tomato Tartines

Made a nifty new dinner tonight -- cheddar, butter, french bread, and tomatoes, layered together and broiled. Took all of ten minutes to prepare and was super tasty. Wish I'd taken a pic, but unfortunately I had to eat and run to work with no time to spare.

long loaf french bread
3-4 nice-smelling tomatoes
block of good cheddar

Cut bread into short rectangular pieces (we got three sections out of ours). Cut each of these in half horizontally. (Optional: Lightly toast the bread sections -- just enough to make the bread a little crisp on top.)

Butter each section. Layer on top sliced tomatoes. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese. (Optional: Broil each tartine for a few minutes until cheese melted.)

Future tartine dinner idea: goat cheese and thin slices of cucumber.

Monday, January 21, 2008

SHF #38 Baking With Candy


As soon as I mentioned to my husband that this month's Sugar High Friday was all about Baking With Candy, he immediately wanted to combine Werther's Originals with shortbread. I was definitely skeptical at first -- I thought the candy would be too hard in the middle of soft shortbread. But in the end, I was completely wrong and he was completely right. The little hard candies (which we crushed up) melted into the shortbread and had a chewy, easily crunched texture after baking.

About 1/2 one small bag of Werther's Originals
2 sticks softened unsalted butter (1 cup)
3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine butter, vanilla, sugar, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir until combined but not too creamy. Put all the Werther's in a plastic bag and crush with something heavy (we used a meat tenderizer).

Divide dough into two equal parts. Press one of the two halves into an eight-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle about half the crushed candies over the dough, making an even layer. Press the other half of the dough on top of the candy. (We did this slowly so as not to disturb the candy layer -- basically, we just took small pieces of the dough and pressed them down on the candy layer little by little. Then we smoothed them together.) Sprinkle the other half of the crushed candies over the top, again making an even layer.

Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. After baking, let the shortbread cool for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the cookies from the pan. Cut into little squares once the block is completely cool.

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Adding Ganache
Although the cookies are good by themselves, they're super good coated with chocolate ganache.

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream

Coarsely chop chocolate. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Pour over chocolate in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir for a few minutes until smooth. Let the ganache cool until it's slightly thick. (We let ours sit for about 20 minutes, stirring it a couple of times while we waited.)

Once you've got your ganache you can do lots of things with it. We tried three things: 1) we dipped the cookies, so that one end was covered; 2) we drizzled the cookies with thin diagonal lines; and 3) we poured ganache over the top so that the cookie was mostly covered.

Werther's Shortbread with Ganache