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Chocolate-glazed Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 325 F. Blend butter until smooth in a large bowl using an electric mixer set at medium speed. Slowly blend in the confectioners sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add vanilla extract and combine thoroughly. Add flour and mix at low speed until well blended.

Divide dough into two roughly equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. On a floured board using a floured rolling pion, roll out disks to 1/8" thickness. Turn dough often to prevent sticking. Cut cookies with flour-dipped cookie cutters.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 16-18 minutes, being careful not to let the cookies brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool surface.

To prepare the chocolate glaze: heat cream in a small saucepan until scalded; remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup, cover, and let stand for 15 min. With a small wire whisk or wooden spoon gently mix glaze until smooth, being careful not to create bubbles in the chocolate. Dip whole or half of each cookie into glaze and transfer to a tray or cool cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. Chill cookies in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.

48 cookies
Submitted by Dan and Alicia Cunningham - Burlington, VT Mar 30, 2010
15 min 30 min 45 min

Vanilla extract

  • High quality vanilla extracts such as Nielsen-Massey or Blue Cattle Truck carry a price tag of about $20 for an 8 oz bottle
  • You can make your own vanilla extract using vanilla beans, vodka and a glass jar
  • Vanilla is made from the beans of a mexican plant with a name meaning "little pod"

Chocolate

  • Chocolate has been linked to improved mood and emotional state because many scientists believe it boosts endorphin and serotonin levels in the brain
  • Dark chocolate has a higher ratio of cacao solids and lower ratio of milk and cacao butter than milk chocolate
  • Dark chocolate can increase the blood flow to arteries, and the entire circulatory system
  • Dark chocolate contains high antioxidant content which lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol
  • Rudolphe Lindt developed a process of using heat and friction to create the smooth chocolate product that we enjoy today
  • John Cadbury was one of the first chocolate makers in England and produced chocolate for Queen Victoria
  • The production of chocolate expanded dramatically when a Dutch scientist figured out how to make chocolate powder in the early 1800's
  • Chocolate was enjoyed strictly by royalty in Europe as a drink with amazing health benefits
  • Cacao butter is the natural fat found in the cacao seed also known as the 'Nib'
  • The custom of drinking chocolate was passed along from the Mayans to the Europeans
  • The cacao tree which bears the fruit that is needed to make chocolate is indigenous to South America and is known as Theobroma cacao
  • Chocolate is created by extracting the seeds of the cacao pod, then sunning and fermenting the product
  • The Mayans and the Aztecs consumed chocolate in magnificent quantities and often enjoyed it as a cold and spicy drink

Sugar

  • The American Heart Association recommends the following for daily sugar intake: 9 Tsp (Men), 5 Tsp (Women), 3 Tsp (Children)
  • The average american consumes over 20 teaspoons of sugar per day
  • Most sweeteners including sugar and fruit extracts, cane juices, honey, syrup, etc. have a fructose/glucose ratio of approximately 50/50
  • Fructose is found in sugar and most sweeteners and is unhealthy because it goes straight to the liver causing diabetes and heart disease
  • Sugar is sometimes referred to as "evaporated cane juice"
  • Many people choose sugar over high fructose corn syrup because sugar is not as highly processed
  • Consumption of sugar increases insulin levels, increases energy, but then leads to a drop in both and likely a craving for more food
  • Sugar is a carbohydrate with about 9 calories per sugar cube
  • About 40% of the world's sugar production comes from Brazil
  • The fully mature sugar cane stem can grow as tall as five meters
  • Sugar cane and sugar beet are the most common sources of refined sugar
  • Sugar is sucrose which can is found naturally in many plants
  • Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing sugar to the Americas
  • The process of creating sugar through evaporation of the sugar cane juice began in India
  • The earliest known production of sugar dates back to 9000 BC in the southwest Pacific island of New Guinea

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