I begged her for the recipe and she kindly gave in to my plea. The recipe comes from a small book called "Cindy's Itty Bitty Baking Book". Katie took a few creative liberties, including the genius addition of salt to the top. And I took one or two myself. So from Cindy, tweaked by Katie, slightly tweaked by me, we give you.....
Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*This would also be amazing with the addition of espresso powder.
Preheat oven to 325. Lightly butter (or spray with Pam) a 15 x 10 inch baking pan. If you use a 9 x 13 just add a few minutes to the cooking time. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. The spray keeps the paper in place and keeps the extra oil/butter out of the shortbread.
In a small bowl sift the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and salt together. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and vanilla until smooth, about 1 min.
Add the sugar/cocoa mixture and beat until fully incorporated, about 2 min. (*Tip: This mixture is really fine and the mixer will create a powder cloud like no other, so start your mixer slow or even fold in the wet ingredients a couple times with your spatula before turning on the mixer.)
Here it is half way.
And now fully incorporated. The texture will be silky.
Then add the flour mixture and beat until the dough just comes together.
Again, here's the halfway point.
And just fully mixed.
I use a wooden spoon to mix in any rogue flour at the end.
Place the dough into the prepared pan
Yes, I keep a sample of our new tile propped up against the backsplash, just so I can imagine ;) We actually have all of it waiting in boxes in our garage. But counters first.
Gently press the dough with your fingers or the back of a spoon to form an even layer.
Lightly prick the top of the dough all over with a fork or toothpick.
Bake on the middle rack of a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the top is dry and a toothpick comes out clean.
The amount of time truly depends on how "fudgy" you like it. My friend Katie actually likes it with a little more crumble and bakes it an additional 5 minutes. For my oven and preference, the golden number is 17 minutes...just as the slight cracks/bubbles reach the middle, fully covering the top. Cooked through but still soft. Something like this...
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Immediately sprinkle with granulated white sugar and a pinch of salt. Since this is the V-Day edition, I swapped the regular sugar for these red sugar sprinkles.
And we're done!