I made these cookies over the weekend with the help of a few of my friends. It’s a play on a standard shortbread recipe, and was pretty much totally made up. Because of that, it’s possible that I did it “sub-optimally,” but the result was a darn tasty cookie! For the sea salt, I used three different salts available at Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA. I had to ask the cheese counter for the salts, as that they were not out on the counter. The employee, though, was happy to go to the back and get the six salts available, and portioned out my request (small amounts) with no complaint. I spent about $3 on a tiny amount of salt, but it was well worth it. I used lavender flower, pink large crystal, and smoked sea salts. The lavendar salt went the fastest, but the pink large crystal salt was often commented on as being the tastiest, with the chocolate becoming more pronounced thanks to the salt.
Salted Chocolate Shortbread
2 sticks (cups) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz fine unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons of at least one variety of fancy sea salt (large crystals)
Cream the butter with an electric mixer, then add the sugar and vanilla and cream until almost fluffy. Melt the unsweetened chocolate on the stove under low heat, stirring frequently, Remove from heat once it is melted and set aside. Mix the chocolate in with the butter. In another bowl, combine the salt and flour. With a wooden spoon, fold the flour mix into the butter mix. Don’t be afraid to not stir it in completely.
Use wax paper to either roll out the dough into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick or roll 1-2 small cookie logs. Make sure they’re covered with wax paper or plastic wrap. Put these in the refrigerator for at least an hour. After an hour has passed, either use a cookie cutter on the disk, or cut 1/2 in slices of the cookie log and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle about two pinches of coarse sea salt on each cookie. You can also use parchment paper on the sheet for easy clean up. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until just a little browned. Cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!