chocolate shortbread cookie jar

The holidays were fun but after all of the preparation and the vast quantities of food, I’m definitely embracing a fresh start to the new year.

I’m not one for making resolutions but I did decide to increase my commitment to supporting local food producers and artisans in the New England area. Thankfully, we were able to start 2013 off on the right foot by visiting some of the winter farmer’s markets in our neck of the woods.

stacked shortbread

In the past, there was essentially no local food available where we live during the winter months. You either canned or froze food enough food for your family during the summer or you were stuck with the dead, lifeless and flavorless food that travelled thousands of miles to reach the nearest chain supermarket. Thank goodness things have changed.

cherry blossoms
parsnips
blue yarn
horizontal cookie jar

Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy canning and freezing food at the end of the summer. In fact, just last night we defrosted summer peaches and blueberries and used them to make a homemade crostada. That said, it’s much nicer to engage in these activities for pleasure and not because there’s no decent alternative.

Farmers in our area take winter farming very seriously. Greenhouses and hydroponic farms are springing up all over the region. Our farmers are selling root vegetables like never before. This means we now have access to local winter lettuce, greens, vegetables – even tomatoes available on the coldest winter days. Meat, cheese and seafood are also local.

crushed shortbread
bunny basket
handspun yarn
white wool
What’s really great is how the winter farmer’s markets also include local artisans and craftspeople. Local cheese, chocolate, honey, desserts, wines and specialty foods are plentiful. Local crafts are making a come back too. In fact, some locals are producing such beautiful yarn, I almost want to take up knitting. What a difference it makes on a dreary winter’s day to walk into a room full of color and delicious goodness.

chocolate shortbread
farmersmkt
socks for sale

Speaking of delicious goodness, I made some great double chocolate shortbread cookies. I love these cookies for a few reasons. First, you can whip up a batch in no time at all. Second, you don’t have to bake them right away- the dough can sit in the refrigerator for a few days. They’re also easy to pack and easy to freeze. Finally, they’re not overly heavy. They’re perfect with a good cup of coffee or tea. What a great way to start the new year.

What about you? What are you eating in 2013?

cookies stacked on plate

Double Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

2 egg yolks
1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
2 tbs (35 g) water
10 tbs.(150 g) unsalted butter
1 c (100 g) powdered sugar
2 1/4 c (300 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 c (35 g) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 g) baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 c (100 g) chocolate chips (the measurement here doesn’t need to be exact- add to suit your taste)
pure cane sugar for sprinkling

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the eggs, vanilla and water and set aside.

In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Gradually add the egg, vanilla and water mixture until blended.

Add dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Blend in chocolate chips on low speed.

On a silicone baking sheet or piece of parchment or wax paper, use the dough to roll a log with your hands. The length of the log will determine the size of your cookies. Mine was about 15 inches long. Roll the log in cane sugar, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 325. Cut the cookie log into 1/2 inch slices. Lay flat and bake 18-20 minutes. Cool completely before eating. The cookies will taste best when completely cooled.

Special thanks to the Wayland Winter Farmer’s Market for the wonderful food and photo opportunities!

Bon Appetit!



Fresh New England

Get inspired to love & support local food. We have some great ideas sprouting up so browse our site for more delicious finds.

32 Comments
  1. El, such beautiful photographs once again. I love how you transport me to your part of the world with your posts!

    As a reader of my blog, you know that fresh produce is my focus. In 2013, I am aiming for even fresher, lighter and simpler recipes.

    Having said this, I love a good cookie, and your double chocolate shortbreads look delicious!

  2. This is a great recipe for me because I love having a cookie with my coffee. Should be a nice change. I love the farmer’s market pics too. Looks gorgeous. You’re so lucky to have that near you.

  3. I’m sad for Americans that it takes years to get a market. Here in Italy we always have them. The one you have pictured is beautiful.

  4. You had me at double chocolate 🙂 Winter markets are a fabulous thing. I’m happily spoiled living in the middle of a small farming community where we can delight in local, fresh veggies and meats throughout the year.

  5. These cookies remind me of a European cake called “babovka” (at least visually). My wife has a friend whose mother was from eastern or central Europe (I am not sure) and brought this recipe with her. Basically it’s cake baked in a special baking mold with a bit of cocoa in dough for a nice pattern (you can google some pictures if you want), raisins and when baked, it’s drenched in chocolate. Hmm, maybe the babovka and your cookies are not so similar in the end, but I think they both taste superb. 🙂

  6. Luciana, It is quite sad. Seems like we have to go back to the beginning.

    Lorne, Thank you for sharing the information about babovka. It sounds delicious!

  7. I agree. We’ve gotten incredible food over the past few years during the cold season. I love getting the fresh spinach and lettuce during winter months. I’ve never been to the Wayland market before but it looks like it’s worth a ride. 🙂

  8. El, Happy New Year to you my dear! How very lucky for you that you have a winter’s farmers’ market… Every town should have one! Of course, your cookies have me salivating and it’s barely 9am!

  9. Eating seasonally is so much easier with a fresh local supply of produce. Of course your cookies would be perfect any time since the chocolate transcends all seasons.
    Mimi

  10. that bunny!
    here on cape cod we are lucky to have a couple of farmers markets in the summer; during the winter none such.
    so i make a lot of trips to whole foods for my berries
    i eat 2 cups of blueberries 5 days a week. good for my skin, and my inflammation.
    there was a chocolate shortbread recipe i tried, about 4 years ago? from martha stewart that was so good.
    i hope you saw my last friday links post, i had a couple cape cod sunsets in there–i know you love those as do i.
    one of these days i hope to get a big girl camera and really capture the lights of the sky during a winter sunset.

  11. You’ve got a lovely new look to your site — so pretty! I love a farmer’s market with local crafts and interesting things to peruse other than produce and you’ve shared a beautiful collection here. Eating this year? I’m going to keep working on what I started last year. I relapsed a bit, but the new habits I developed have stayed with me. Now, back to exercise :/

  12. I can’t tell you how much I love shortbread. I’m so looking forward to trying this recipe. What kind of cocoa powder did you use?

  13. Melanie,

    Thanks for you note. I usually use Valrorhona or Callebaut cocoa powder. The quality of cocoa powder makes a big difference. Let me know how they turn out!

    El

  14. El, I made the cookies. Awesome!! Everyone loved them. I left a bit of the dough in the fridge to try slice and bake over the weekend. We’ll see! I didn’t have Callebaut but we did have some Valrohna 🙂 Mel

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