Cook Book Challenge: Week 9

Some time ago, my father picked up Family Circle's "Crazy for Chocolate" book for himself. Now, this is a rarity, as most dessert books he buys on his op-shopping expeditions are for me. I didn't see it for the longest time until one weekend he handed it to me to have a look through. He told me it wasn't great, that there was "nothing really decadent in there". It was in this moment my father was classified as certifiably insane. Not is it the greatest chocolate cookbook I have ever seen, it is right up there with my favourite desserts of all time. I want to bake this book from cover to cover, and I probably eventually will. He told me I could have the book, but I think he already knew I was not leaving his house without it.

Last night, I turned to it in an attempt to rid myself of some of the 7 punnets of strawberries my dad bequeathed unto me. I came across the following recipe and decided that it would be a suitable dessert for a lazy Sunday in: Chocolate Shortbread Stacks

There's not many places this concept can go wrong. Strawberries + Cream + Chocolate = Autowin.

The biscuits themselves are not very sweet, so the dish does benefit from sweetening of the cream (which I was bound to do regardless). The combination of the three elements makes for a very well balanced dessert. We did struggle to finish it die to the massive plate of chicken spare ribs and vegetables we’d consumed prior, but out of defiance and love for the strawberries we refused to let the tower defeat us: we ate it down the the very last crumb.

Admittedly, this is the first time I have ever processed strawberries. As a strawberry luvvah, the thought of condemning them to such a fate seemed unjust. However, with punnets to burn I happily sacrificed them to the spinning blades of doom. Oh what a happy fate it was, for the strawberry sauce was a whole new level of epic. Let’s face it: however aesthetically pleasing, a little swoosh would never do. This is why I will never be a chef. Despite lacking the skill, I also lack the ability to sacrifice quantity for aesthetics. Time to drown the tower in sauce.

The recipe made more than I needed. But cookie sandwiches made from leftover shortbread rounds and leftover cream were a very welcome snack the following day.

Chocolate Shortbread Stacks
Ingredients
Chocolate Shortbread
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2/4 cup icing sugar
225g butter, chopped
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup cream, whipped
250g fresh strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon icing sugar, extra
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, extra

Berry Sauce
250g fresh or frozen srawberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

Method
1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 210°C (190°C gas). Line two over trays with baking paper.
2. Place flour, cocoa, icing sugar and butter in food processor. Process for 30 seconds, or until mixture is fine and crumbly. Add yolks and essence; process until mixture comes together. Knead on a gently floured surface until smooth.
3. Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 4mm thick. Using a 7.5cm fluted round cutter, cut 18 rounds from pastry. Place on prepared baking trays. Bake 8 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. Place a biscuit on serving plate, top with a little cream and some berries. Top with a second biscuit followed by cream and berries. Top with a third biscuit. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make another 5 stacks. Dust with cocoa and icing sugar. Serve with berry sauce.

To make berry sauce:
Process berries and sugar until smooth, stir in enough water to make a pouring consistency. Strain seeds if desired.

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