Candy Cane Crunch Chocolate Dipped Shortbread

Celebrate the holidays with these Candy Cane Crunch Chocolate Dipped Shortbread cookies, Layers of buttery chocolate & vanilla shortbread speckled with candy cane bits and dipped in dark chocolate make this up this Christmas classic cookie.

Wow only 8 days left til Christmas – are you ready?  Me neither.  However what I am ready for is the holiday treats and eats!  There’s just something so decadent and glamorous about the holidays. It could be that we break out best serving dishes, tinsel and garland is everywhere, things are lit with the most spectacular of lighting displays and we all seem to put our best foot forward when it comes to foods.  We bake more during the holidays than anytime throughout the year.

We bake for the holidays, company, gifts for family and friends, office parties, cookie exchanges and obviously for Santa.  Gotta kept the jolly man happy and fed.  No one wants coal in their stocking. Like you I make the extravagant cookies and ones that you swear take longer to decorate than they do to bake. But there’s something to be said about a classic, simple shortbread cookie.  They are buttery, melt in your mouth and honestly the perfect ‘tea cookie’. When my friends at Nordic Ware® sent me out their Sweet Snowflakes Shortbread Pan to create something magical and appropriate for the holidays I knew I wanted to incorporate something ‘seasonal’ in the shortbread cookie while keeping it simple.

As you know I’ve been fortunate now to be a part of the Nordic Ware® family for about 2 years now – reviewing their PHENOMENAL bake and cookware plus creating mouth-watering recipes. Today I’m featuring their Sweet Snowflakes Shortbread Pan. It’s absolutely stunning made with the same stellar quality we’ve all come to love  and expect from Nordic ware.

The pan made from Cast aluminum.  It’s holds 6 cups and measures 9.72″ dia. X 1.63″ and can handle temps up to 400F.  The inside is non-stick but as I’ve shared before, coat your pan with melted butter brushing every crevice with a pastry brush.  You can then add flour or not.  Depending on the type of cake I’m making I typically stick with just butter for these pans.  See my post that’s all about how to properly coat your bundt cake for baking!

When it comes to the holidays and baking I think of pretty much 4 basic flavors:

♥ peanut butter
♥ chocolate chip
♥ sugar
♥ peppermint

As I was thinking about what type of shortbread to make I kept coming back to peppermint and chocolate. I positively love the flavor combination of chocolate and peppermint in baked goods.  There’s just something creamy and cool about it. I had though about making an all-chocolate shortbread but then you really would not have seen the specks of crushed candy canes and let’s face it, we eat visually. What I ended up doing was taking my classic shortbread recipe and tweaking it slightly; more so for the chocolate part.

You see anytime you add cocoa powder to a recipe it immediately sucks up the moisture.  Most folks think if you just add cocoa powder to any recipe that it’ll work however most often it doesn’t. Cocoa powder acts as a sponge sucking up all of your moisture.  And if you don’t adjust for that in your recipe you’ll end up with a very dry, crumbly cookie/pastry. So make sure you pay attention to the recipe and when to add the additional fat and sugar.

Now do you know why these are called shortbread cookies?  “Short,” in the baking world, means that there is a high proportion of fat to flour. Secondly “short” is referred to the crispness in how they are baked and the end result. And as for the bread portion obviously this isn’t exactly bread but rather a biscuit. Originally when they were made, so history states, they were made from an enriched bread dough that was twice baked then dusted in sugar.  It was crisp to the touch and bite.  Fat was added to give it that meltaway taste and over the years it was transformed to what it is today – high fat to flour ratio.

So back to this recipe. As it was baking I could smell the peppermint from the candy canes fill the air in my kitchen and I just got such a big smile on my face. This… this was a Christmas smell. As I pulled the pan out of oven I was hit with such a beautiful scent of warm peppermint and chocolate.  It honestly was all I could do to resist digging in however I did.  One thing about making shortbread in a pan like this is you need to let it rest in the pan for about 10 minutes before you can remove it otherwise you risk it cracking.

While it was resting I made myself a cup of hot cocoa and just because I was in a peppermint mood I tossed in a candy cane.  To remove this from the pan I took a thin blade spatula (must be firm – if you do not have one use a plastic thin knife) and run it along the edges. Place a cooling rack on top, grab the pan and the rack and in one quick motion, flip it over.  The shortbread will fall right out. The most IMPORTANT thing about shortbread like this is that you must cut it BEFORE it cools completely otherwise it will crumble and crack. You won’t get clean lines. Yes I know mine aren’t so clean but that’s only because I dipped them in copious amounts of dark chocolate… and I was hungry.

When I first posted a pic of this pan on my facebook wall so many folks went nuts over it.  I have a few TKW Family members that collect Nordic Ware and display their pans in their kitchen.  Do you have a favorite pan? I honestly can’t pick a favorite. I mean there are so many to choose from. For 70 years as a family owned and operated company, Nordic Ware has proudly produced quality kitchenware products, primarily made in America at their Minneapolis headquarters. From humble beginnings, Nordic Ware has become an internationally distributed brand with a variety of collections, hundreds of products and millions of fans. Their iconic products include cookware, bakeware, grillware, microwave, and kitchen gadgets and accessories. 70 years is remarkable and the fact that’s family owned and operated is incredible!

A few hours later, when these were cooled I decided to dip them in some dark chocolate.  I mean why not?!  Okay fine I’ll confess as to why.  You see as I was sipping my hot cocoa earlier in the day I could not stop fantasizing about dipping one of these into the cocoa, maybe scooping up some of those marshmallows and whipped cream, biting the tip of the cookie off then re-dunking it over and over.  Then I got an idea “if these are dipped chocolate then dipped in hot cocoa the chocolate on the cookie will melt and make your hot cocoa even more rich!”  BONUS!

Now if you plan on dipping these say in tea, skip the chocolate coating as I’m not sure that would taste.  And by all means coat them in chocolate for your coffee dipping.  While I’m not a coffee fan at all I know tons of you folks who love it and love the flavor profile of chocolate and coffee.

So let’s talk taste and texture…

Buttery, melty, pepperminty and chocolatey. LOL They are crisp to the bite but then just seem to melt in your mouth. The combination of the candy canes and chocolate is total money. As I was dunking this in my hot cocoa and kind of “sucking” the hot cocoa and nibbling on the cookie I was staring at the pan.  This pan, with the recipe, some crushed candy canes bits and chocolates – this would make a great Christmas gift for your favorite foodie! You could supply everything in a basket (minus the butter).  I know I would love getting a gift like this.

This pan, yeah it’s something every holiday baker should have.  It’s just so pristine and elegant.  It’s perfect for the holidays and just helps brighten the holiday season!

And as you know, since I’m a part of the Nordic Ware family obviously this post is being sponsored by Nordic Ware® featuring their festively Sweet Snowflakes Shortbread Pan .  All opinions of this ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL pan are mine. Both my Mom and Grandma only trusted their pans for their most prized baked goods.  And let’s face it, if Mom and Grandma trusted them then you know they have to be incredible!  Mom’s are never wrong!

Candy Cane Crunch Chocolate Dipped Shortbread
Find more fantabulous recipes, tips and tricks at www.thekitchenwhisperer.net. Also, join our TKW Family on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram
Ingredients
  • 12 Tbl unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbl all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy cane bits
  • 2 Tbl cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces melted dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp butter, unsalted and melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F, rack in the middle. Brush the inside of the Nordic Ware Sweet Snowflakes Shortbread Pan with melted butter. Be sure to get all crevices.
  2. In a large bowl, cream 8 Tbl butter, vanilla and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Combine flour, salt and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture. And mix until combined (some crumbs are OK).
  4. Remove half of the dough and set aside.
  5. To the dough still in the bowl add the candy cane bits and mix just until combined.
  6. Pat the dough into the pan.
  7. In a clean bowl add the remaining dough and 4 Tbl butter, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, cocoa and mini chips. Mix to combine.
  8. Pat that dough carefully on top of the other dough in the pan. You want to layer this. Pierce several times with a fork. Bake at 35-40 minutes or until lightly firm to the touch. A little give is OK but not much.
  9. Remove from the oven, allow to set for 10 minutes then with a very thin firm spatula loosen the edges and then invert onto a cooling rack. Cut while warm
  10. Cool completely. Once cooled dip the chocolate crust into the melted dark chocolate and place on cooling rack, chocolate side up to firm.
  11. Store in air tight container.

 

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