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Shortbread Biscuits - Recipe

Topped with a drizzle of chocolate and a sprinkle of nuts, these buttery shortbread heart cookies are the perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Super simple to make, this is another fun recipe to make with the kiddos.
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Ingredients:

Shortbread Cookies
185 grams Unsalted butter Softened to room temperature
½ Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla paste, extract, or the seeds of half a vanilla pod
1¾ Cup All-Purpose/Cake Flour
1 Pinch of salt
Toppings
100 grams Bar of Chocolate (milk, dark or white)
½ Cup Pecan Nuts (roasted and finely chopped) substitute with walnuts, hazelnuts or peanuts

Method

Shortbread Cookies
Cream together the softened butter and sugar, then add the vanilla. Next, sift in the flour and salt, then mix until fully incorporated and a smooth dough forms

Place the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, then roll out using a rolling pin to approx. 2cm thickPlace in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove and let soften for a couple of minutes before cutting

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone baking mat

Using a heart shaped cookie cutter (or multiple sizes), cut out as many cookie as you can get out of the dough. Place them on the lined baking sheet, leaving around 2cm between the cookies as they will spread a little, then bake for 12 – 15 minutes
Note: the baking time and amount of cookies will depend on the size you make them

Once you've placed the first batch in the oven. Place the leftover dough back between the sheets of plastic wrap. Roll to the correct thickness and pop back into the freezer for at least the amount of time the first batch is baking
The cookies are done when the edges just start to brown (they shouldn't have too much colour, but you do not want them to be soft either). Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for around 5 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating

Repeat the process until you've used up all the dough
Note: Keep the dough as cool as possible throughout. If the dough gets warm the butter inside will melt and the cookies will be greasy not crisp. If using only one baking sheet, ensure it is cooled completely before placing the second batch on it
Toppings
When the cookies are completely cooled it is time to decorate them. You can do this however you wish but I will explain here how I did mine

Tip: If you do not want to add the chocolate or nuts, sprinkle the dough hearts with a little castor sugar before baking

To melt the chocolate there are two options. Both begin with breaking the chocolate into pieces and placing them in a heat proof bowl

1. Add around 1½cm of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil (once you reach boiling stage turn the heat right down to the lowest). Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, using the heat from the steam to melt the chocolate. You will need to keep stirring gently until there are only a few bits of chocolate left unmelted. At this point remove from the heat and stir, letting the residual heat from the bowl melt the last bits (do not overheat the chocolate as it can seize)

2. Place the heatproof bowl with chocolate pieces in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds then remove and give it a stir. Once you see the chocolate is starting to melt, heat it for only 10 second bursts, removing after each and stirring well. Once again, as above, when there are only a few bits of chocolate left unmelted, stop heating, remove and stir, letting the residual heat from the bowl melt the last bits (do not overheat the chocolate as it can seize)

Decorate the cookies with the melted chocolate as you wish. Make sure to keep the nuts close by as you will need to sprinkle them before the chocolate sets

Leave until the chocolate is set before serving or storing

Tip: If you are in a hot climate (or it's summer when you make these), pop them in the fridge to help the chocolate set. Once it's set you can transfer them to a airtight container and store in a cool place or the fridge

Recipe by Vanessa Vermaak @ My homemade Kitchen

 

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