Chocolate Shortbread…Being Martha

I am interested in ANY recipe that has chocolate so as I thumbed through the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, it was hard to pass this one up.  This has an amazing mix of chocolate and cinnamon!  It can be found on Page 127 of the book or the recipe can be found below.  I could not find the recipe on line and it would be a shame if you didn’t have the recipe yourself to make this at home.

To start off this recipe, I gathered all the dry ingredients.  Notice the dry ingredients below in the bowl which are rather lumpy.  aha…my opportunity to buy and use another new tool!

Dry Ingredients Before Sifting

Using a sifter for your dry ingredients will help reduce the lumps in the mix, combine your dry ingredients nicely and also make your batter or mix consistent with ingredients.  This was my first time trying my new sifter.  Here it is in action…exciting huh?  I sifted my dry ingredients twice for this recipe.

Sifting Dry Ingredients

Here is what the dry ingredients looked like after sifting…nice combined and ready to add the other ingredients…butter!

Dry Ingredients After Sifting…

 So, the other new tool or accessory that I have acquired through my research on baking and tips is the use of parchment paper.  Parchment paper is great to use as a liner for many baking projects especially cookies and bars.  I purchased mine at Cost Plus World Market, but most baking or specialty stores carry it.  It is typically not carried at the grocery store or Target.  Believe me; I tried.

Parchment Paper…A Must Have

 For this recipe, I used the parchment paper to line the baking pan and to reduce the risk of the shortbread cookies sticking to the pan.  It worked great!

Parchment Paper Used as a Liner

 Once the dry ingredients and butter are mixed, spread the mix in your pan with a large offset spatula.  The mix is rather firm and difficult to spread.  Spread evenly and then place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up.

Offset Spatula - Spreading Mix Into Pan

 Once removed from the refrigerator, poke holes in the top of the mix.  You can see Baja is very interested in this process.  He loves when I bake.  I wonder why?

Shortbread Ready for Oven….Baja Likes this Recipe

 The one thing with shortbread that is different than most other items you bake is that you need to cut it as soon as it comes out of the oven.  If you don’t, it is very hard to cut when it is cool and it will break.  So, cut as soon as you get it out of the oven and sprinkler sugar all over the top.  Below, you will notice that I pulled the entire thing right out of the pan using the parchment paper.  The pan was clean!!!

Chocolate Shortbread Out of the Oven

Here is the final presentation of the goodies for the day….the recipe for the pound cake can be found here.

Here is the recipe:

3 Sticks Unsalted Room Temp Butter

2 1/2 Cups + 2TBS All Purpose Flour

4 1/2 TBS Dutch-process Cocoa Powder

Heaping 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Superfine Sugar

Granulated Sugar for Dusting


Combine Dry Ingredients - Flour, Cocoa, Cinnamon

Beat Butter & Sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.

Add Dry Ingredients to Butter/Sugar Mixture until just combined.

Spread into a 12×8 Inch Pan lined w/ parchment paper or buttered.

Cool in refrigerator for 15 to 20 Minutes

Remove & poke holes in dough.

Place in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes until just firm to touch.

Remove, cut immediately, sprinkler with sugar and cool completely in pan.


I am thinking that this recipe would be great baked in a pie shape, topped with whipping cream or creme fraiche and berries.  That sounds fantastic!

Happy Baking & 4th of July!


Fudgy Chocolate Brownies….Being Martha

This is my continuing series called Being Martha

I debated what to bake today, but when all else fails a recipe that has the word “chocolate” in it always gets my attention.  This recipe is on Page 119 of the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and can also be found online here  It is a fairly simple recipe with just a few ingredients with the most important being chocolate.  You start out by taking your 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.  What exactly is bittersweet chocolate…it is really the same thing as dark chocolate.  You can read more about it here.  I always like to learn a something new when I am trying a new recipe.  And, I guess I am curious by nature.  Go figure!

So, you start out by breaking up the chocolate bars.  I used a rolling pin first to roll over the bars and break them up.  I find that the best way to break them up is to use a food processor.  It is fairly quick and easy especially if you only need to break down the chocolate into chunks like you do here.

Next, you take your butter and chocolate over heat and melt them together.  The recipe recommends a double boiler which I do not own so I use a regular sauce pan on low heat and stir constantly.  You have to be careful not to burn the chocolate, but I have never had a problem.  Once the chocolate and butter are melted and blended together, set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, stir in the sugar and then wish in the four eggs one at a time.  Then, vanilla and gently fold in the flour.

Once the flour is folded in and just combined, pour into your 8×8 baking pan or glass dish that has already been buttered and floured.  Place in the oven and let it cook.

This recipe makes great brownies that have a bit of a crispy top and a moist chocolatey inside….see, I already sampled them.

One tip for serving these brownies is to lightly sugar the bottom of the brownies so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the plate you are serving them on.  You can also sprinkle the top of the brownies lightly with powdered sugar to add an additional little something.

It is always a sign of a good day when my kitchen ends up like this!


Now for the ratings:

I would rate this an EASY recipe great for the beginner.

I would rate the taste an 9 out of 10.

Happy Baking!


Valentine’s Day Marshmallows & A “Little” Sewing (Kind of)

Sunday of last weekend was all about creating; creating with someone who wanted to spend ALL DAY making one thing after another.  ”After we finish this, do you think we could make something else.”  So sweet…my 6 year old niece.  What I didn’t expect was to become sick (and I mean really sick) that night with the 48 hour stomach flu.  I haven’t been that sick in over 15 years.  So, this post is a recap of last Sunday’s fun events (minus the sickness!).

First, we set out on making chocolate dipped marshmallows with a Valentine’s Day theme.  Yeah, I know…over 20 days away, but still fun to have a theme.  These are super simple and easy to do.  First, I would prep the work space if you are going to make this a kid project.  I taped wax paper / freezer paper to the counter (shiny side up) and pulled up the stool.  I would also use small bowls to set up the different sprinkles for dipping rather than sprinkling onto the chocolate.  Dipping is easier (and less messy) than shaking the sprinkles out of a container.


Supplies you will need:

  • Melting Chocolate - Assorted Colors
  • Candy Sticks (in the baking section of JoAnn‘s or Michaels)
  • Assorted Sprinkles
  • Large Marshmallows
  • Ribbon
  • Plastic Bags


  • Place a Candy Stick in Each Marshmallow and set them out ready to go.
  • Melt the chocolate
  • Start Dipping - Either dip just the end or swirl and get the entire thing.
  • Dip into whatever sprinkles you want.
  • Set the dipped marshmallows onto the wax paper (stick up) to dry.
  • The chocolate will set up and dry within 15 minutes.
  • At the end, I swirled the red and white chocolate together to make an interesting effect.





  • My niece had the best idea to use the cone shaped plastic pastry bags in my drawer to make small bouquets out of a few of the marshmallows together.
  • We placed them in the bag and wrapped a bow around them.
  • You could also do singles with a bow tied on them and give them as cute gifts to accompany a Valentine’s Day Card.


All ready for delivery….she wanted to stop at every neighbor’s house along the way home to drop off a little gift.  And, last but not least, we sewed her first project.  It was a small little bag that came ready to make with her new sewing machine.  The funny part was that her new sewing machine was a bit difficult to operate and so I had to break out the instructions.  At some point, she instructed to me that this was very boring and can’t we just sew.

Needless to say, we sewed her bag using both machines (hers and mine) and had a great time.  Here’s the final result:

I am now feeling much better and hoping to get a few hours of sewing in before the end of this day is over even though I should really clean the house, knock out the piles of laundry, do some work….