I love being a nurse. Aside from enjoying the actual work of "nursing", I love the schedule - 2 or 3 twelve hour days might seem long, but to have the other 4 or 5 days off every week to spend with the kiddo makes it all worthwhile. Our scheduling at work is pretty flexible, but we're required to work every other holiday and every third weekend. Since your weekends are assigned when you're hired, you spend each one with pretty much the same group of people. My weekend peeps are awesome - we usually have a good time while we're there.
To me, this is a great opportunity to try out new recipes and pawn them off on hardworking, unsuspecting co-workers. This weekend, figuring we needed a little kick in the mornings, I opted for espresso shortbread from a recipe off Smitten Kitchen (one of the yummiest food blogs I read). The first batch, the ones that I took to work on Sunday, I made with chocolate chips (like Deb does in her recipe) and toffee pieces. Those, however, I didn't get a chance to photograph before they were snapped up by my husband and my co-workers - that's how amazingly good they were.
Naturally, I had to make another batch. As I took the flour and powdered sugar out of the cupboard, I found a bag of cinnamon chips leftover from Christmas time. Hmmm, cinnamon and espresso? Let's give it a shot. I mixed in some Hershey's Bits o' Brickle toffee pieces for good measure. The result was...astoundingly yummy. The espresso flavor was much more pronounced in the chocolate chip version, and the cinnamon chips were definitely the prominent flavor in the second batch. Both were equally as good, but it really depends on your preference.
(Like, if you prefer adorable, you could hang out with my kiddo...)
Also, the whole "rolling the dough out in a Ziploc bag to get a perfect square" thing is brilliant!! Easy peasy way to make symmetrical, same sized cookies, with virtually no clean up. Brilliant.
Espresso Cinnamon Shortbread
(adapted with love from Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped chocolate chips, or mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup small toffee pieces, like Hershey's Bits o'Brickle
Time and temperature: 325 for 18-20 minutes
Dissolved the espresso powder in the boiling water, and set aside to cool. Cream together the butter and the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and the espresso, mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowel several times. Stir in the flour until just combined. Stir in the chocolate and toffee with 3 or 4 revolutions of the mixer. Scrape the dough into a gallon size Ziploc bag. Leaving the bag opened to let the air out, roll the dough out flat to the size of the flattened bag. Zip the bag closed and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. Cut the bag off the flattened, rolled out dough with scissors. Cut the bag into equal squares (I made 25 cookies) and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake in the center of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or rotate the sheets halfway through for even doneness. Cool on a wire rack. Try not to eat them all in the first 15 minutes.