Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread

shortbread cookies drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt  

Fika!!

Fika, the Swedish coffee break that happens at least once a day, is my new favorite excuse to enjoy coffee and sweets whenever I need to take a moment.  The aim is to find some sort of balance during the day in the pleasure of sipping a cup of coffee. Traditionally, sweets are eaten, as well, especially cinnamon buns but cookies and cakes are also invited to the party. It’s exactly the kind of thing that I enjoy doing in the middle of the afternoon to recharge my batteries.  And, like most Americans who find themselves rushing around all day, I can always use some more fika in my life.  One book I read on the subject suggested that fika could be considered a “caffeinated meditation”. Yessss. Taking a moment to relax, reflect, spend time with a friend or even to let the dog run around the yard while I put my feet up, that’s what I have learned is the essence of fika.  According to my research, fika in Sweden happens twice a day.  I can only hope to aspire to such a goal.  Until then, I will do my best to fika as much as I possibly can.

Here is a cookie recipe that keeps well and is easy to make to have fika sweets at the ready.  The balance of the dark chocolate, sweet shortbread and briny sea salt pair well with a cup of warm, slightly bitter coffee.

Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out.

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

10 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon Crisco or flavorless oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Using a stand mixer, blend butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the egg and almond and vanilla extracts.  Mix to combine.  Add flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Take dough out of refrigerator.  Dust a sheet of parchment or Silpat with flour.  Roll out dough into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick using a floured rolling pin.  place parchment or Silpat with dough onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until dough is longer shiny.

Remove par cooked dough from oven and gently slice into small rectangles about 1 1/2″ wide and 2″ long.  Place in oven and bake again for 7-8 minutes until edges are lightly golden.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before separating cookies.

After separating cookies, heat the chocolate chips and oil in a microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until mixture is completely melted.  Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate and immediately sprinkle with sea salt before chocolate hardens.  Allow chocolate to harden for a few hours.  Store in a sealed container for up to one week.

Enjoy your fika moment!

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

cheesecake bars with swirled strawberry and fresh strawberry garnish on a white plate

When the local, native strawberries seem to be jumping off the vine during a more rainy than usual June on Cape Cod, I can’t help myself:  I must pick as much as I can carry home.  After paying a small fortune, I realize that I need to come up with some really good ideas for these luscious gems.  Strawberry jam is an obvious choice for me to make as I put up a batch just about every year.  Strawberry Shortcake and fresh strawberries at the ready to just pop into my mouth are favorites, too.  I came up with a strawberry smoothie including almond milk and Kefir for those who want to keep it healthy but what about those of us who love some sugar with our berries?  Strawberries and cheesecake is a classic combination but who has the time for cooking a fancy New York style cheesecake that takes hours of low and slow baking for the creamiest of textures?  Behold the Strawberry Cheesecake Bar.  Easy, portable, and incredibly creamy and delicious with just the right amount of sweet fruit. Continue reading “Strawberry Cheesecake Bars”

Campfire Strawberries

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It’s strawberry season on Cape Cod.  That time of year when the native berries are ripe and juicy, practically jumping off the vine, begging to be picked and popped right into your mouth.  It’s a short season as far as produce goes: just a few weeks and they are gone.  So, it’s important to drop everything and partake in these glorious red orbs at every possible moment.  Continue reading “Campfire Strawberries”

Crab Puff

TriscuitcrackersHellmansRealMayonnaisePhiladelphiaCreamCheeseBumbleBeeCrabmeatforcrabpuffIt’s really nothing to look at but delicious to eat.  A perfectly easy hot hors d’eouvre to serve with crackers or even Cape Cod Potato Chips.  I found the recipe in my grandmother’s recipe file.  While she wasn’t known for her cooking,  she certainly loved to entertain.  Her old file is filled with no shortage of quick and easy recipes mainly magazine and newspaper clippings affixed to recipe index cards with Scotch tape that is slowly disintegrating.  From recipes with Campbell’s soup as its base to more intricate ones like Swedish Meatballs and even one made with green jello, canned pineapple and cottage cheese, there is something for everyone…that is if you having a “Mad Men” themed party. Continue reading “Crab Puff”