It gets to 11am, I’ll put the kettle on for a mint tea and I’ll get a sudden craving for that crunch that you only get from a biscuit. Sometimes a custard cream or a dark chocolate digestive does the job. Other times, they’re not quite satisfying enough.
A shortbread is a classic. Rich, buttery and ever so crunchy, it’s hard to resist tucking into a second, or even a third.
There may be some purists that believe shortbreads should be left alone, just topped with a sprinkling of sugar. However, I’m of the opinion that shortbread is only improved with a few chunks of ginger, a grating of orange zest or a few spoonfuls of chopped hazelnuts. They provide an extra crunch and a slightly sweet flavour.
I believe that everything can be improved by chocolate. Whether that’s a chunk of dark chocolate in spaghetti bolognese or a shortbread dipped in the rich melted stuff. Coating half of the shortbread in dark chocolate adds an anticipation when eating the biscuit, a slight longing for the entire biscuit to be coated in it.
Coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts are a well-established combination. They’re put in cakes, cheesecakes, tarts, tiramisus and now the classic shortbread.
The Recipe – Adapted from BBC Good Food
2 tbsp. instant coffee powder
250g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
300g plain flour
150g hazelnuts, chopped
100g dark chocolate
– Mix the coffee powder with 1tsp. hot water to form a thick paste.
– In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
– Add the coffee paste, flour and half of the hazelnuts.
– Mix to form a dough and wrap in cling film.
– Chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
– Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
– Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough out to around 1/2cm.
– Using a circle cookie cutter, stamp out as many shortbread biscuits as possible.
– Re-roll the remaining dough and repeat until used up.
– Put the shortbread biscuits on the tray and chill for a further 45 minutes.
– Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
– Bake the shortbreads for 20 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool, they’ll be delicate when still warm.
– Melt the chocolate and dip half of each shortbread in the chocolate.
– Sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts.