WARNING! not for the faint hearted…

I’m a sucker for chocolate, along with the majority of the females of the species but I’m also an absolute salt fiend and have been known to snack on slices of cheese topped with freshly ground sea salt…mmmm! So imagine my delight when, on reading The Sweetest Kitchen, a blog I follow, I learnt that Lindt have introduced a bar of dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt!

Jamieanne, the blog author also shared a recipe that she had found for Salted Chocolate Shortbread. I couldn’t get it out of my head and spent the rest of the afternoon at work daydreaming about salty chocolate creations. I decided to bite the bullet, did a pit stop at Waitrose, who stock the aforementioned magic chocolate and headed home for some baking.

Surprisingly I don’t think I’ve ever made shortbread before. There’s a first time for everything and without further ado here is the recipe I used to make my salted chocolate shortbread…

300g unsalted butter

220g caster sugar

375g plain flour

5tbsp good-quality cocoa powder

1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 18 x 28cm shallow baking tray.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with a handheld whisk until pale. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and soda and beat slowly until just combined. Spread into the tray and smooth over. I used my hands to push it into the corners but was careful not to compact it or overwork it too much. I then put my shortbread straight in the oven, only realising once I’d done so that I was meant to have pricked it all over with a fork and chilled it for 15 minutes beforehand…oops!

It needs baking for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Then should be left to cool completely.

I can report that my shortbread was pretty darn perfect and didn’t seem to suffer from my forgetfulness. Maybe next time I’ll make sure I do the pricking and chilling and try to spot the difference.

While your shortbread is cooling you can crack on with the salty ganache topping…

2 x 100g bars of Lindt touch of salt, finely chopped

2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes

sea salt flakes

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream until it’s just about to simmer (do not boil), then pour it over the chocolate and leave for about a minute. Stir it until smooth and all of the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and stir until combined. 

Put the bowl in the fridge for approx 20-30 minutes to set. Every 5-10 minutes get it out and give it a good stir/whisk. Once the ganache is of spreadable consistency smooth it over the cooled shortbread with a spatula and then let it set for 30 minutes until it’s firm to the touch. Cut the shortbread into squares, wiping the knife clean after every cut to keep the ganache crumb free and vice versa. Sprinkle a few sea salt flakes onto each square and hey presto you have the most amazing chocolatey, salty delicacies…

Now, brace yourselves and behold, what I believe are the best baking porn photo’s I’ve taken to date…

I was really happy with how these turned out…they were delicious and were a huge hit with my colleagues! The flavours really balanced themselves out, the overriding taste was definitely the chocolate but the salt worked to cut through the sweetness and helped ensure that they weren’t too sickly and the sudden salty hit that you get from the flakes of sea salt was a pure delight.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…and I highly recommend that you do!

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