Emery Kate. She's here! All 7 pounds 2 ounces of her! If you're a friend of The Café you know that we've been anxiously awaiting the birth of this sweet, baby granddaughter. With her arrival being seven days late, last week seemed to be extra long as each morning we'd wonder, "Will this be the day?". And in the evenings, we'd slip under the covers saying, "Think this will be the night?".
We're thrilled to report that today was the day! Both mom and baby are doing well and the new daddy, well let's just say if you look up "proud as punch" in the dictionary ............ well, you'll most likely see a picture of Nick! He seems to be embracing this new phase of life with great enthusiasm and delight. In fact, I have a feeling that there's a long standing prejudice that's about to sprout wings and fly away ...............
................. I remember the day as if it were yesterday, though it actually occurred many years ago ............ Nick was in the fourth grade and almost always came bounding into the house each day after school, happy as a lark and eager to share the details of his school adventures.
But this particular day was different. Very different. My cheerful, sandy-haired son with the big brown eyes walked though the door quite ............ disgruntled. Disgusted. Appalled. "What in the world is the problem?" I said, as I pulled out a snack and poured my troubled towhead a glass of milk. "You'll never believe what happened today!" he blurted out. "I still can't believe it!" Fearing something terribly dreadful, I encouraged him to continue.
"We had a test today .............." he started. "Yes, and what's so unusual about that?" I replied. The story spilled out ............. the teacher told the students to take out a number two pencil and prepare for an exam. Nick frantically searched through his belongings ............... to no avail. Not even a nub of lead to be found. He did notice, however, that the young lady who sat next to him had a WHOLE BOX ................ FULL of pencils. "Oh good" he thought, "saved" .............. by a girl .............. oooooh, but nevertheless, saved. WHEW!"
Not as easy as Nick thought. Erin looked at Nick with a devious expression and informed him that he was free to use a pencil ................ UNDER ONE CONDITION; before he could have one of her treasured pencils, he had to say (out loud so that everyone nearby could hear), "Pink is beautiful." "What?!".......... "Yup, you have to say it!" A nightmare for poor Nick, but when he weighed the choices; fail the test or repeat the deadly words, he reasoned the latter was a necessary evil.
So you see, it was not the test that had Nicholas in such a dither, but the circumstances leading up to it instead. We've had many a good laugh over the years recalling that legendary day, though to Nick, even as a grown man, "pink" has continued to be a bit distasteful .................... UNTIL TODAY. Like I said at the beginning of this post, "I have a feeling that there's a long standing prejudice that's about to sprout wings and fly away." ..................
I made these fun shortbread cookies several weeks ago as a celebratory treat (and as a "bribe" for the hospital staff, just to ensure my Lindsay is super well taken care of :) ). They freeze beautifully and the crisp, buttery shortbread pairs beautifully with the sweet, indulgent chocolate buttercream. Oh, and there's an amazing little tang, almost an aftertaste from a touch of goat cheese in the icing.
I used my 2D Wilton decorating tip (also called a large drop leaf tip) for the beautiful rose shaped swirl. It looks fancy, but the tip is what works the magic; you basically just start in the center of the cookie and pipe in an outward direction until you get to the outer edge.
If you've got a special occasion (like a beautiful new baby), want to surprise a loved one, need a sure-to-work bribe or want to celebrate something fun like "Pink is Beautiful", these French Shortbreads w/ Swirled Chocolate-Goat Cheese Buttercream are perfect, just perfect!
P.S. Though shortbread is classically associated with Scotland, it's popular all over the world. This French Shortbread is adapted from Dorie Greenspans book, Paris Sweets and is a bit unique in that there's an egg included along with the traditional butter, sugar and flour.
French Shortbread Cookies W/ Swirly Chocolate-Goat Cheese Buttercream
10 tablespoons salted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 2—3 minutes. Add egg and beat until smooth.
2. Add flour and mix on low speed until just combined.
3. Transfer dough to a work surface and form into a ball; halve ball and form each half into a flat disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350º. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
5. Transfer one disk to a lightly floured work surface; using a rolling pin, roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Using a 1 1/2″ round or fluted cookie cutter, cut out rounds and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1″ apart; repeat with remaining dough disk.
6. Bake, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until cookies are pale golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let cool before icing.
Chocolate-Goat Cheese Buttercream
½ cup butter, at room temperature
2 ounces creamy goat cheese
12-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pound bag or box powdered sugar, more as needed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or half and half, more as needed
1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. If necessary return to microwave for 10 second intervals until melted. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.
2. Beat the butter and goat cheese on medium-high speed for 3minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
3. With mixer speed on low, add the melted chocolate and mix until incorporated.
4. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add milk one tablespoon at a time till icing is soft and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat a low speed until combined. increase speed to medium-high beat for five (yes 5!) minutes. If icing is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, if too thick, add a bit more milk.
5. Frost cookies with either a small knife or pile icing into a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip. I like to use a Wilton 2D (also called a large drop leaf tip). To pipe a rose with a 2D tip, begin in the center and swirl outwards in a circular pattern. See video here.