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Chocolate Shortbread

1 cup white pastry flour
14 tbsp high-fat, non-alkalized (natural) cocoa
8 tbsp unsalted sweet cream butter
3/8 cup white granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

Preheat the oven to 300F. Take the flour and cocoa and mix thoroughly
in a bowl. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape the contents into
a measuring cup with the sugar. Stir until the vanilla is reasonably
well-incorporated. Now, cream the sugar mix with the butter, making
sure the butter is cold out of the refrigerator, using a wooden
spoon. Stir the flour mixture in, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until
the mixture is crumbly and uniformly brown. Press lightly into a
ball. Roll out on a surface dusted with cocoa to about 3/4" thick
and cut into bars, rounds, etc. Place on cookie sheets lined with
parchment. Bake at 300F for 25 minutes, or until the edges look
slightly dry. Remove from the sheets and cool on wire racks. Makes
approximately 24 1"*2.5" bars.

This recipe is also really good to use as a tart crust - as in the following
(simple) recipe:

Chocolate Truffle Tart

1 recipe Chocolate Shortbread
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate

Bake the recipe for chocolate shortbread in a 9" tart pan. Grate
the chocolate through a box grater. A paper towel works well to
hold the chocolate while you grate it, so that it doesn't melt.
Heat the cream until it just barely begins to bubble, then pour
over the grated chocolate. Stir quickly and smoothly with a spatula
until the mix is nicely incorporated and smooth. Allow it to cool
until slightly thick, then pour into the baked tart shell. Cool at
room temperature and serve, garnishing with raspberry coulis if
desired (To make raspberry coulis, simply puree raspberries with
a potato masher.)


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