Sunday, November 16, 2014

Milk Chocolate Paté and Shortbread Cookies: A Perfect Holiday Party Dessert

Planning a holiday party but have no idea how to fill in the dessert table?  Chocolate Paté is an easy dessert that can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. For instance, you can buy gourmet oat and shortbread cookies (see one delicious suggested gluten-free brand below), or you can make the cookies from scratch (see my recipe below for buttery shortbread cookies).

This recipe is also very flexible; you can use fine milk chocolate or something commercial and from the cupboard - like sweet milk chocolate leftover from Halloween! I used up some mini Halloween Hershey's milk chocolate bars for this particular paté, but I have also at times used organic milk chocolate and high percentage (45%) milk chocolate for a less-sweet, richer-tasting paté.
 
Milk Chocolate Paté Recipe:

For the paté, you need:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces of milk chocolate (about 20 mini Hershey's bars)
Instructions:

1. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap.


2. Break or chop your chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.

3. Chop up the butter and place it in a medium saucepan with the whipping cream.

4. Place your cream/butter mixture on the stovetop and melt together over medium heat.  Once mixed, heat the mixture just to a boil (do not let it boil, stop it just before), and immediately pour over the chocolate. 

5. Stir slowly and in one direction with a wooden spoon until completely melted. If you have a little trouble getting the chocolate to melt completely, place some water in your empty cream pot and heat it on the stove, then place your bowl over the pot and continue stirring slowly until it is completely melted and mixed.

6. Immediately pour the chocolate mix into your lined loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let set on the counter overnight or in the fridge for 4 hours.

7. Once firm, take off plastic wrap and trim edges (if need be) and place on a serving plate. Place shortbread and sugar cookies all around on plate.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.  Serve at room temperature.



Shortbread Cookies Recipe:

I used coconut sugar for my recipe, which gave the kids less of a sugar-high and also added the 'brown sugar' colour to the cookies - but granulated cane sugar works even better in this recipe, so use whatever you like!

You need:
  • 1 lb of butter (2 cups/454 grams) - cold
  • 3/4 cups of granulated, organic or coconut sugar
  •  4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if you do not have a stand mixer) and briefly mix on low or stir until combined.

3. Chop the butter into 1 or 1/2 inch pieces and add to the butter/sugar mixture.

4. Using the paddle or dough attachment for your mixer, stir on low until it becomes crumbly and eventually moist and fully mixed (if no stand mixer, use a whisk or wooden spoon to pulverize the mix until it becomes moist, but be aware that this will take a while!).

5. Pour the dough onto the counter and kneed with hands until you have a large ball.  Roll it out until you have a long smooth roll. Sprinkle flour onto your counter and on your rolling pin, then roll the dough out to 1/8" thickness or thicker.

6. Use a round cup or cookies cutters to cut shapes.  I used the thicker back of mini cookie cutters to imprint snowmen and butterflies on the cookies.

7. Bake on centre rack for 12 to 15 minutes, and remove from oven just before the cookies start to brown.  If you have a cooling rack, transfer each cookie with a spatula to help them cool faster, and to reuse your pan and parchment to bake more cookies! Otherwise, let cool on the pan and then serve or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for later consumption.


This milk chocolate pate is very delicious sandwiched between
two cookies as an afternoon snack with tea.
Also delicious on these Scottish Nairns Oatcakes (www.nairns-oatcakes.com),
which I purchased at an Independent Grocer in Ontario - bonus, they are gluten-free.

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