I had a really bad day yesterday. I must say that coming home and reading nice comments from people truly made my day. It also would have been so nice to come home to this dessert, but unfortunately, it was the dessert for the night of my mini Emmys gathering. The dinner (and the company) were the best part of the night. That show was a stinker!!! I was only happy when certain people I was routing for won. I got these awesome vanilla beans last week and I had been searching for recipes. This post caught my eye (via Tastespotting). I liked the sound of a vanilla custard with the chocolate shortbread. I didn't have the original recipes myself so I just followed the adaptations from the post, but I did halve the custard recipe. The custard was really good, kind of like a creme brulee without the burnt sugar top. The cookies were good too, but I made them a little too thick. The dough is really thick and requires a bit of arm work. If you make the cookies make sure you *follow instructions* and only roll the dough into walnut sized balls instead of baseball sized balls.
Vanilla Pots De Creme
(Adapted from Supper in Stereo and The Art of Simple Food)
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons heavy cream
6 tablespoons half-and-half
2 tablespoons sugar
1 one inch piece of vanilla bean
2 custard cups or ramekins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a simmer.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour the heavy cream into another bowl.
Put the half-and-half and and sugar in a small pot. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife. Add the seeds and the pod to the half-and-half. Heat until warmed through and the sugar has dissolved, but do not bring to a boil.
Remove the half-and-half mixture from the heat and slowly whisk it into the egg yolks. Strain the yolk mixture into the bowl of heavy cream. Discard or set aside the vanilla pod (clean and dry it to use again, if desired).
Pour the mixture into 2 ramekins. Put the cups into a deep dish (I used an 8x8 glass dish) and pour hot water into the pan until it comes to halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and seal well. Bake the custards for 25-30 minutes until they are done. The edges will be firm, but the middle still jiggles.
Remove custards from the pan to cool. They can be served warm or stored in the fridge and served cool.
Cocoa Shortbread Cookies
(From Supper in Stereo and How to Be a Domestic Goddess)
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. Set the bowl aside.
In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. When they are pale and fluffy, stir in the dry ingredients. It will appear that the mixture needs more liquid, but just keep mixing, it will come together into a dough.
Roll the cookies into balls about the size of a walnut and place them on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press them down with the back of a fork.
Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300 F for the last 10-15 minutes. The cookies are done when they are firm but not hard on top. When the cookies come out of the oven, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.