The cookie swaps are happening across America!  They are in the neighbor’s home, at a friend’s apartment, and even at work!  Today at Allrecipes.com we held our own cookie swap and quite a few of us participated.  I loved sampling a selection of delectable, chewy, crisp, sweet, and irresistible cookies.

My contribution?  Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Almonds, Ginger and Clementine Zest

These cookies came to life based on a Chocolate Shortbread Cookies by Ghirardelli.  This basic, straight forward recipe got a makeover with the help of my friend Dana, a fellow graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.  Following a lovely dinner at home, I suggested Dana helps me bake the cookies, and she was more than eager to help.  Thank you!  We added freshly grated ginger and clementine zest to the dough and studded with toasted almonds.  Rather than baking these as separate cookies, we pressed the dough into a baking sheet, baked it whole and then cut it in shape.  Happy holidays!

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Almonds, Ginger and Clementine Zest

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
2 teaspoons clementine zest
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds, toasted and cooled

Directions

1.  Cream together butter, sugar, ginger, zest and salt until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2.  Sift together flour and cocoa.  This ensures the two are well incorporated and are lump-free.

3.  Combine butter mixture with flour and cocoa until no streaks of flour remain.

4.  Fold in almonds.

5.  Press the dough evenly into a parchment lined 9×13 baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This allows the butter to set up so the cookies do not melt in the oven.

6.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

7.  Bake until the dough is almost set, about 20 minutes.  Cool slightly, transfer with parchment paper to a cutting board and cut to desired size and shape.

The cookies will keep in air-tight container.  You can dress these with confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa and serve with sliced clementines.


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