Baking Lessons

Happy Tuesday! Baby it’s cold outside here in Boston. Wasn’t it just Thursday that I was wandering around during lunch wearing a skirt and short sleeved shirt? That’s New England for ya, summer one day and snow the next! We are expected to have a messy morning commute, and I would like nothing more than to work from home. Fingers crossed!

Tonight was a busy night in that we had to go and vote. Normally voting takes a really long time, but unfortunately it seems as though less than 10% of Boston’s population came out to vote today. I really didn’t want to go, but started thinking about all of the people in the past and present who were not allowed to vote, and that got me off my bum.

Dinner was quick and easy, California Pizza Kitchen Margarita Pizza from a box and delicious spinach and pickled veggie salads.




All day long all I thought about was making chocolate chip shortbread, the same recipe I have been making for years from my Chocolate Lover’s collection recipe book.

I gathered all of the ingredients, 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup Ghirardelli chocolate chips, the ones that make me swoon. If I lived in San Francisco, I would spend a lot of time in Ghirardelli Square. There’s a wine tasting room there too. Chocolate and wine :)


I paired my baking with a small glass of Alexander Valley Petite Syrah called Rendition. It helped when the recipe turned out to be a total flop. Normally it is very easy. Normally I just combine the sugar and softened butter into a paste, then, using my hands, work the flour in, adding the chocolate chips last, then pressing the whole ball of dough into a pie plate.

The dough looked okay, maybe a little more crumbly than normal, but I pressed it into the dish and popped it into the preheated (375) oven for 12 minutes.

Well, I don’t know if it was that I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose white flour, which is what I suspect, but rather than baking into a golden, crunchy shortbread as it has dozens of times before, I ended up with a burnt buttery puddle with melted chocolate in it. Not. pretty. I let it sit because sometimes the shortbread hardens more after sitting for awhile. Not this time. The butter separated out, leaving a lovely oil slick, and well the melted chocolate part. No one would want to eat it or look at it. :(

I really wanted to make a fun dessert, so I went to option two, Oreo balls from How Sweet It Is:

I used faux-reos from the supermarket, penny pincher that I am :) In all I took 8 of these lovely cookies, not counting the one I ate, and mashed them beyond recognition in my mini food processor. Then I tossed in about a cup of cream cheese and let the processor do its thing. The result was a chocolatey cheesecake filling. Instead of forming the filling into balls and dipping them in chocolate as Jessica did, I made a crust in small dessert bowls out of more faux-reos and topped the crust with the cheesecake filling. Easy and yummy, and more than made up for the shortbread disaster.

When the shortbread DOES turn out as planned, it is amazing. I have made it for parties and it disappears quickly. It is also nice when cut into bars, wrapped in wax paper, and given as a little gift in a decorative tin or box.

I will make it again, don’t worry. For tonight, my no bake chocolatey cheesecake bowl is just fine ;)

  1. Raija’s avatar

    I wish I had your faux-reo dessert at my house right now — I made some good pork chops though tonight! Your dessert would help keep me going through my editing!


    1. admin’s avatar

      Pork chops sound good. . . I do need guest posts for January!


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