Bake It Now: Salted Chocolate Shortbread

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San Francisco–based Guittard is the gold standard of chocolate, which is why chefs ask for it by name. The company's new cookbook is a collection of five generations' worth of recipes for everyone's favorite chocolate desserts. When it comes to baking, especially for something simple, like this chocolate shortbread with crispy salt crystals, the best ingredients make all the difference.

My friend Ben harvests sea salt on the Oregon coast. He traipses knee-deep out into the chilly Pacific Ocean to gather buckets of water, and then he carries the salt water home, where time and heat work their slow magic. The result? Beautifully intricate flakes of sea salt. As with anything you cook or bake, using good ingredi­ents is crucial, even if that ingredient has just a small role in the final product. Everything from the cacao beans we purchase down to the fleur de sel sprinkled on top of these cookies is top quality, which is what makes this recipe so good. The Cocoa Rouge adds richness to this short­bread, and the buttery yet crunchy texture can satisfy a craving at any time of day.

Reprinted with permission from Guittard Chocolate Cookbook

Bake It Now: Salted Chocolate Shortbread
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2-inch cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Guittard Cocoa Rouge (Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. Roll the dough into 1 1⁄2‑inch balls and set them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the balls. Use the bottom of a flat cup to slightly flatten each ball, and then sprinkle the balls with fleur de sel.
  4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are cracked. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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