I am sure everyone has eaten shortbread as a child. I remember loving those Scottish Walkers shortbread and those lovely chocolate coated ones from Marks & Spencer. I dropped this indulgence in my adolescence after I came to the realisation that the shortbread only goes to the hips (and waist).
In my adulthood, I’m allow myself to indulge as long as I make sure that I work it all off. So yes, chocolate shortbread, here I am, back with a vengeance. I still munch on those from Marks & Spencer till the day I decided that I should just make some to enjoy of my own.
That turned out to be a pretty good idea.
I used a very basic shortbread recipe and added cinnamon to it. There is no rocket science behind the buttery, crumbly shortbread. As with all tart/cookie doughs, you need to be careful not to overwork it.
After the shortbread is baked, I poured over a layer of dark chocolate and topped it with sprinkling of nuts, freeze-dried strawberries and sea salt.
I thought of treating them like a blank canvas just like the chocolate mendiants (see my recipe here). The only difference is that you don’t have to temper chocolate! All you need is to melt chocolate over a bain marie (or in a microwave in 10 seconds bursts).
You can have them with tea or coffee; they are definitely the perfect treat to have in the afternoons. You can keep them up to a week. Advisable to keep them stored somewhere for a rainy day pick-me-up.
Recipe: Chocolate cinnamon shortbread
Shortbread recipe adapted from BBC food
Makes a 9″ x 4″ rectangular tray
When it comes to shortbread, the more butter the better. And yes, I think that if you are not vegan, you definitely have to use butter for this one. I added a touch of cinnamon to this recipe but if you are not fond of cinnamon, you can most certainly skip that. I coated mine with a layer of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of chopped nuts, freeze-dried strawberry and Murray river sea salt.
225g plain flour
180g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
75g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Rub in method: Using your fingertips, rub the flour with the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a food processor but using pulsing motion and take care not to overwork the dough.
2. Add in the caster sugar, salt and ground cinnamon and ensure that it is well incorporated with the flour and butter. The dough should come together and away from the bowl. If it looks too dry, you can add a tsp of cold water but I did not have to do so.
3. Tip the mixture into the parchment lined cake tin and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Using your hand, press the shortbread firmly into the base of the tin. Chill in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes. Using a fork, dock the shortbread (prick holes around the shortbread) so that the steam can escape when you are baking it.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes until pale golden and firm. Shortbread is typically quite lightly coloured. Set to cool.
Dark chocolate topping
180g dark chocolate couverture (70% dark chocolate or if you like, milk chocolate), chopped
toasted nuts (I used pistachios and hazelnuts), chopped roughly
freeze dried strawberry (optional)
a sprinkling of sea salt
Other alternatives: dried fruits such as cranberries, apricots will work well too
1. Melt the dark chocolate over a bain marie, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the melted dark chocolate over the cooled shortbread. You can decorate it with chopped nuts, dried fruits, freeze dried fruits. Add a sprinkling of sea salt over the top to finish off.
3. Allow it to set before cutting the shortbread into bars using a long serrated knife.