Creamy and buttery Almond Shortbread base with a thick layer of melted dark chocolate on top and bits and pieces of chopped Almonds. This is something that you should definitely give a try. You won’t regret it, promise!
I bake a lot, and since I cannot finish all my baking by myself, I often bring them to the office to share with my friends. I had baked a lot of deserts that some of it I cannot remember the name. I have my favorites and my friends have their favorites too. This Almond Shortbread Bar is one of the top favorite among my office mates, and mine too.I got a request from a friend of mine to bake this cookie bar. He didn’t know the name, he just described it to me as something with almond. I made a lot of almond desert because they are my favorite, so I have to go over my previous baking to find out what that cookie is.
I initially thought he was talking about the Snowball Cookie, but it seems this is not the one. Then maybe I thought it’s the Almond Shortbread Chocolate Ganache Tart, but it seems this is not the one as well. Then I though maybe it’s the Amond Shortbread Tart, bingo! This is the one, but when I made it before it was in wedges shape. I was so happy to finally found it. So, I want to make sure I have it in my blog so that I don’t forget it.
This Almond Shortbread Bar has a very buttery base. The dark chocolate ganache along with the toasted chopped Almonds gave this bar a really nice texture and crunch. No wonder this is a favorite among my friends and myself too. Let me show you how to make this. Let’s get started!
Can I Freeze Shortbread Dough?
- Once you have the dough ready, have it molded in the pan of your choosing. You can also use cookie cutter circle, square, rectangle etc. The important thing here is to freeze it in the size and shape that you want when you bake it.
- Line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper then spread the shortbread dough on top.
- Prick the surface with a fork or score the cookie (creating a line as guide for cutting).
- Freeze until solid, about 4 hours. Remove from the pan and transfer in ziplock bag.
- When ready to bake, bake straight from the freezer at the temperature mentioned below. Add about 3 minutes more in baking time, or until the top turns slightly browned.
Almond Shortbread Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup COLD (113 grams) unsalted Butter – leave on the counter for about 15 minutes to slightly soften it (but not melt it), it should be in a state that your hand mixer could mix and separate
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated White Sugar
- 2/3 cup (85 grams) All-Purpose-Flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) Almond Flour
- 2 tablespoon (15 grams) Rice Flour or Cornstarch (corn flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) Salt
- 1/2 tsp (1 gram) pure Vanilla Extract (optional)
- 3 tablespoon Chopped Almonds for decorating the top
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
- 1.8 ounces (50 grams) or approximately 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate/dark chocolate – chopped or shaved for faster melting
- Starting point: 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp milk (You can also use almond milk, skim milk or powdered milk and dilute it in water) The consistency of this ganache is still slightly thick just a good starting point. If you want thinner ganache, add more milk 1 tsp at a time
Instructions How to Make Almond Shortbread
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Line with aluminum foil or parchment paper a 7-inch square or round pan. You can also 5 or 6-inch pan just pay attention in the baking time. The smaller the pan the longer the baking time because it is thicker.
- Beat Butter and Sugar: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until combined. If using hand mixer, the butter should be slightly soft so that it mix with the sugar.
- Add in the Vanilla Extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed.
- Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl whisk together the flours (all-purpose flour, almond flour, and rice flour/cornstarch) and salt.
- Dry Ingredients + Butter Mixture: Add the dry ingredients mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated.
- Transfer in a Pan: Press the shortbread dough evenly into the pan. Prick the surface of the shortbread with a fork to prevent the shortbread from puffing up.
- Freeze: This is a MUST! Store in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking to allow the dough to harden. This is even more needed if you are using a hand mixer and slightly soft butter.
- Bake: Place in your preheated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the cookie starts to pull away from the side. Check at 20 minutes before the time to make sure not to over bake it.
- Cool: Place on a wire rack and allow the shortbread to completely cool before pouring the Chocolate Ganache.
- Toast the Almonds: Toast whole Almonds in the toaster (or oven) at 300F for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool then chopped into small pieces. If using sliced Almonds, check at 5 minutes time at it can burn easily. If using sliced Almonds, toast for 5 minutes as these are thinner and could get burnt easily.
- Finish with Chocolate Ganache: Pour the melted chocolate or Chocolate Ganache on top, spread evenly to cover the entire area. Push the tray back and forth and sideways to level the top. Sprinkle top with chopped or sliced Almonds.
- Chill: This is a MUST! Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or until chocolate is completely solid. Chilling is highly recommended before cutting the cookie to avoid cookie from breaking.
Alternative Method: Food Processor
You can make the dough using a food processor. Simply put all the ingredients in the food processor and process in low, about 1 – 2 minutes or until it starts to form into a dough. Get a small portion and clump it into your palm, if it comes together then it is ready to go. In this method, you can use a COLD butter that is straight out from the refrigerator.
Here is a short video on How To Make Chocolate Ganache without Heavy Cream
Instructions How to Make Chocolate Ganache
Add milk to chopped chocolates or chocolate chips and microwave for 30 seconds interval (if you are making a large batch). Remove and stir after every 30 seconds. Repeat the process until the chocolate is fully melted. If you need to return it to the microwave couple of time, be sure to do it in short internal, normally depending of how much more you need to melt it. Some chocolate chips tend to melt faster, and others don’t depending on the brand and type (dark or milk). I noticed that milk chocolate and white chocolate tends to melt faster than dark chocolate. If your ganache is too runny, just add more chocolate. If your ganache is to thick, add 1 tsp of milk at a time.
The Quick & Easy Chocolate Dipping or Coating Option
Chocolate Chips, Yes you guess it right. Our favorite grocery chocolate chips is the quick option for coating this Chocolate Covered Shortbread Cookie. You can also use plain chocolate bar, simply shave or chop it into small pieces. Now, if you want to make it extra special, try using couverture or proper dipping chocolate. Chips don’t contain enough cocoa butter to temper, so the melted chocolate will harden with a streaked or swirled appearance. It will not give a glossy smooth texture that snaps when you break it. Specific to this recipe, it may not be as crucial as we are only pouring it on top and the top if covered with nuts so it doesn’t matter if the top is smooth and glossy. But, when it comes to taste, you can actually tell the difference, it taste better. But then again, if all you need is a quick and dirty, budget friendly and easy to find chocolate then by all means go for chocolate chips. I used it a lot of times for this recipe (sometimes I used bar chocolate) and it taste good too. The good thing about chocolate chip, you do not need to temper it, especially for this recipe. For special occasions or for DIY Gift Giving treats, spend a little bit more, and I assure you whoever is receiving the gift will surely appreciate it. They might even ask for more.
Tempering Chocolate: Is the process of heating and cooling the chocolate to stabilize it. This is normally use for making candy bars or chocolate covered treats. It gives the chocolate smooth and glossy finish, keeps it from easily melting on your fingers, and allows it to set up beautifully for dipped and chocolate covered treats.
What is the Best Dipping or Melting Chocolate?
Although Chocolate Chips or regular chocolate bar will work, when we are talking about the best chocolate for dipping, we have to go for a chocolate that have high percentage of cocoa butter. This type of chocolate is more expensive because of cocoa butter. Lower grade chocolate have lower cocoa percentage, it uses more vegetable oil. The chocolate bars that snap when you break it, or the truffles with a shiny shell, and chocolate-covered strawberries that stay glossy and crisp at room temperature uses high grade chocolate. So you ask, how do know if the chocolate have high cocoa butter? Look for the word “couverture.” This type of chocolate are made specifically for coating, it has a minimum of 31% cocoa butter, so they’re easy to temper even if you’re unfamiliar with the process. You can find chocolate like this in specialty shop. I am using Cocoa Barry that I bought from Sinfully The Best (STB), my favorite source for this kind of chocolate. This is how they look like. They come in milk, white and dark chocolate and they do not need any liquid (like milk) to melt them unlike chocolate chips.
Makes 4 – 6 pieces baked in 5-inch square pan
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