I’ve been reading a lot about flavor combinations lately. I found the Flavor Map the other day and I’m still trying to figure it out. Then I read the McCormick Flavor Forecast for 2012 over at One Perfect Bite. They’re forecasting Grapefruit with Red Pepper, and Blueberry with Cardamom as some of the trends going into 2012. The theme of intense flavors in unusual pairings is such a defining theme in the food of our era. Have you seen the ads for ‘water enhancers‘? Those little pouches of artificial dye and flavor that you carry in your pocket to pump up your water wherever you go?
It seems to me that while all of us have our favorite flavors, it’s when different tastes combine that they really become the stuff of obsession. Like silky dark chocolate and tangy lemon. That combo’s been haunting me for years.
The traditional pleasure of plain shortbread is in its unusually subtle flavor—you can actually taste the flour! But that means it’s also the perfect canvas for showcasing other flavors. It can be amped up in countless ways.
Today, I’m going for the puckeringly sweet/tang of Meyer lemon with the silky richness of deep dark chocolate. I could have rolled this dough into a log and sliced it into cookies, but I’m craving the squares. Maybe it’s because you get a little more with a square.
Are you feeling it yet?
My only dilemma was whether to glaze or not to glaze. I really wanted to taste the lemon, so I took a whiff of the cooling shortbread after it came out of the oven and decided to go for the glaze. To get the full effect of the dark chocolate and lemon combo you need to get that pucker at the back of your mouth.
Meyer Lemon and Dark Chocolate Shortbread
oven to 325
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut in pieces
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
juice (3 Tbsp) and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1 cup dark chocolate chips
for the glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
lemon juice to thin (I used 1 1/2 lemons)
- Line an 8×8 square baking pan with foil for easy removal and slicing.
- Put the flour and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and drop in the butter.
- Mix just until the butter has incorportated into the flour and sugar and the mixture has a coarse crumb texture.
- While mixing, add the lemon juice and zest and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon or your hands.
- Press the dough into your pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until slightly puffed and slightly golden (not brown!) The edges will look a little more cooked than the center and the top will be just firm when lightly touched.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing the foil lining.
- Mix together the confectioner’s sugar with enough lemon juice to thin it to a glaze consistency. Drizzle or spread over the cooled shortbread.
- When the glaze has firmed up, slice into squares.