These cookies, which are the Italian version of shortbread, are rich and sinfully delicious. Serve them with coffee or after-dinner drinks. It is important to bake the cookies until they turn golden brown, as under baked shortbread does not have the same flavor. Also, use the highest-quality chocolate you can find for dipping the cookies – the effort is well worth it.
Reprinted with permission from The Puglian Cookbook by Viktorija Todorovska, photos by Michael Potts, Agate Surrey, 2011.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 8 ounces dark chocolate
- 4 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a clean mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is crumbly.
- In a separate clean mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, and lightly beat with a fork. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat with a mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes, or until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for about 1 minute, until it is smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 days). If you chill the dough for longer than 1 hour, let it warm slightly before rolling it out.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass.
- Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.
- Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.
- In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate. When it is completely melted, remove the chocolate from the double boiler, place it in a bowl, and let it cool for 2 minutes.
- Line a cool baking sheet with foil. Place the slivered almonds in a bowl.
- Dip half of each cooled cookie in the chocolate. Roll the dipped half of each cookie in the almonds. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet to set.