Chocolate chip shortbread...

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studded with melty dark chocolate chips...

Chocolate chip shortbread is the greatest biscuit; buttery, crunchy and melt-in-the-mouth.  They keep well, are simple as anything to make, and you can add any flavours you prefer.

This particular version has chocolate chips added to it, little nuggets of melt chocolate contrast so well with the crunch of the dough...but if that's not your thing, consider adding citrus zest, currants, or if you are planning to give these as Christmas gifts, cranberries make a great addition.

Not surprisingly, there are several theories about the quaint name, petticoat shortbread.  Some scholars feel it relates to the ruffles of the petticoats worn at the court of Mary Queen of Scots; others tell us the name is the English version of 'petites gatelles', which means little cakes.  Either way, they're very moreish, and can go from the pantry to the biscuit tin in less than an hour - brilliant!

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Chocolate chip petticoat tail shortbread...
 
Recipe Type: Baking
Author: Kitchen Diva
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 pieces
Light, buttery, melt-in the-mouth and only five ingredients...
Ingredients
  • 100g unsalted butter, very soft but not melted
  • 55g caster sugar (either raw or white)
  • 125g organic plain flour
  • 20g rice flour (or fine semolina if you prefer)
  • 55g chocolate chips (or currants, or cranberries if you prefer)
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150c and grease a 20cm fluted tart tin with melted butter.
  2. [b]Magimix CE method:[/b]
  3. Cream butter and sugar in CE bowl using pastry programme, speed 12 for 1 minute, scraping down the bowl if necessary.
  4. Add flour, rice flour, salt and chocolate chips and re-run pastry programme for a further 30 seconds - don't overwork!
  5. [b]Traditional method:[/b]
  6. Cream butter and sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or the metal beaters of a hand-held mixer.
  7. Add flour, rice flour, salt and chocolate chips and beat until the mixture comes together. Don't overwork!
  8. [b]Both methods:[/b]
  9. Press the dough firmly into the greased tin, making sure to push into all the curves. Prick all over with a fork.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes until pale golden.
  11. As you remove the shortbread from the oven, sprinkle lightly with caster sugar to add crunch.
  12. Very carefully mark out the size biscuits you prefer, using a sharp knife and cutting through to the base.
  13. Allow to cool completely in the tin, then carefully remove and store in an airtight container.
 

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If this recipe has pressed your shortbread button, you might also consider my other favourite recipe, with either lemon curd or chocolate ganache...you'll find that recipe in this post...http://www.potagerandpantry.com/best-ever-shortbread/

Bon appetit!

 

Yorkshire gingernuts - dunkers delight

Yorkshire ginger nuts Yorkshire gingernuts - these are the biscuits of my childhood.  I remember wondering what all the fuss what about, as ginger wasn't high on my list of favourite flavours, more my Nanna's thing than mine...

Ginger nuts have been around since the 1840's and are still one of Britain's most successful lines, not least because they have the highly rewarding attribute of being the pinnacle of dunkers...able to absorb large amounts of tea without disintegrating and falling to the bottom of your mug (definitely not posh afternoon tea biscuits for fine china and extended little fingers).

Simple to make by traditional methods, ridiculously easy in the Magimix Cook Expert.  They keep for ages, and aren't very likely to be filched by younger members of the household - unless your children have more sophisticated palates than mine...

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Yorkshire gingernuts - dunkers delight
Recipe Type: Biscuit
Author: Melanie Hall
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: approx 50
Warmed by two kinds of ginger, these biscuits will take your cup of tea to new heights...
Ingredients
  • Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan[br]
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 overflowing tablespoon golden syrup
  • <span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span></span>350g self raising flour</span>
  • <span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span></span>100g demerara sugar</span>
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Magimix Cook Expert:
  2. Put butter and golden syrup in the bowl of the Cook Expert.
  3. Select the Expert programme 2 minutes speed 2A temperature 45 degrees
  4. Add all other ingredients, select Expert programme 3 minutes speed 12 no heat
  5. Form the dough into small balls, either by hand or using a small ice cream scoop, flatten slightly
  6. <span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span></span>Place well apart onto flat trays lined with baking paper or silpat</span>
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden
  8. Carefully lift off baking trays and allow to cool on a wire rack[br][br]
  9. Conventional method:
  10. Measure butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan and melt gently over low heat
  11. Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine with melted butter mixture & egg
  12. Form the dough into small balls, either by hand or using a small ice cream scoop, flatten slightly
  13. <span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span></span>Place well apart onto flat trays lined with baking paper or silpat</span>
  14. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden
  15. Carefully lift off baking trays and allow to cool on a wire rack

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lemon curd shortbread - tea time favourite

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Shortbread is a universally popular biscuit, not just in Scotland, where it originated before the middle ages, but also in England, Europe and of course Australia.  

Everyone needs a good shortbread recipe in their repertoire, and after many experiments, I can declare that this is my favourite…it's as light as air, delivers great crunch and can be altered in any way that takes your fancy by changing the centre - in the shot above it's tart and tangy lemon curd, but here it is with chocolate ganache:

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 It's simple to make, requires only a few pantry ingredients, and keeps really well - what's not to love?

And if you're wondering…the term 'short' in a baking context indicates that the recipe has a high proportion of fat to flour; that's certainly the case here…so make sure you use good quality, fresh butter...

icing sugar, flour & cornflour

almonds and flour mix

here's the butter to make it short

 

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Chocolate Brownie Biscuits...

Choc Biscuits As with many things in the annals of food history, and history in general, the origins of the brownie are somewhat obscured.  Certainly this much loved cross between a biscuit and a cake originated in the US; one of the most common attributions is to a chef at a hotel in Chicago who was asked to create an easy-to-eat desert for ladies attending the 1893 World Fair…another version tells us that a chef omitted the baking powder from a chocolate cake recipe...

Whatever the origins, there is no doubt that this delicious concoction of chocolate, butter and eggs has gone on the take its place in the Baking Hall of Fame, altered and amended in a hundred different ways over the last hundred years.  Some add nuts; walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts - still others add dried fruit from cranberries to goji berries and apricots, some employ white chocolate in place of dark…and so it goes on.

And then we come to today's version - this historic treat is slimmed down to incorporate all things we love - the chewy fudgy chocolatey texture that is more a cake than a biscuit, contrasted with the crisp snap of flaked almonds and the sweet/salt winning combination of chocolate and vanilla-infused salt (more about this intriguing ingredient in a forthcoming post).

This recipe comes from my latest cookbook crush - Sweet Tooth by Lily Vanilli (aka Lily Jones) an amazingly talented artisan baker from London - her work is fresh and visually beautiful; she takes classic procedures and techniques and brings her own quirky creative edge to baking.

 

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Time for tea - Bourbon biscuits...

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In case you hadn't noticed, it's all about tea at my house… this new fixation has come about because I'm hosting a series of High Tea events in conjunction with my good friends at Birregurra Provedore. Consequently, as well as having a pantry stocked with wonderful T2 varieties, I have been sorting and cataloguing like a mad woman - recipes, table linen, crockery and silverware - every aspect of my kitchen life is being called upon to do service for these special afternoons.

Along with all the treats you would expect from a hand made high tea, I have been searching for biscuit recipes and came across this one in several of my old cook books, along with a re-invented version in the Primrose Hill Bakery book (for those of you not familiar with the offerings from these two talented Mums in London - you have been warned)...

Anyway, the name of the biscuit in no way alludes to the liquor of the same name, but was bestowed on the biscuit as a tribute to the house of Bourbon, one of the great families of France, by the manufacturer Peek Freans, in 1910.

This is a simple, comforting combination of two crisp biscuits sandwiched together with a chocolate buttercream filling.  They are simple to make, have very good keeping abilities, and taste delicious - what's not to love?

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