Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread #100bakeschallenge/ National Shortbread day

My latest try out flavour for shortbread- Cranberry and White Chocolate!

January 6th 2022

Did you know that January 6th is #NationalShortbreadDay? I didn’t until I got a My Legoman Mostly Foodie Days of Calendar for my kitchen wall. Or rather, its framed but still on the floor in my office until I can move pictures around in my kitchen and have the space to put it up!

My Mostly Foodie Days of Calendar which is still propped up against the bookshelf in my office. Excuse the Instagram link all over the photo.

I also noticed that Shortbread was one of the bakes on the #100bakeschallenge so this was bake number two scratched off the poster. If you’re wondering what I am on about, I got a Christmas present from my friend which is a fabulous poster made by Crumbs by Collette linked to a baking challenge. You post your results on social media using the hashtag #100bakeschallenge. I have seen that some people are giving themselves a year to do it in. I think that is achievable but quite a lot of my bakes are repetitive depending on my customer’s needs, my own time and my family’s personal preferences.

My #100bakeschallenge poster. It’s pinned up on the door of my office as there’s nowhere else to put it.

Shortbread has always been one of my favourite bakes to make as well as to eat! I love how you can turn four basic ingredients into something just utterly sublime. Then if you don’t like it plain, you can add extras to make it even more delicious. I bake lots of shortbread to send to customers and also for friends. It’s a shame that this day falls in January in a way, as shortbread does get made a lot in my kitchen for Christmas. It’s ideal for presents and for bringing out when you have visitors if they don’t like mince pies.

I also had a couple of batches of chocolate chip shortbread to bake earlier in the week. For that, I use the same basic shortbread recipe then substitute 75g of plain chocolate chips and 75g of dark chocolate chips. I always use Callebaut chocolate chips.

I absolutely love the cranberry and white chocolate combination and you name it, I have used it in other bakes where I can. It’s my brother’s favourite cookie flavour and he gets a vegan version every time I see him. I had to test it out in shortbread and oh my it looked lovely. I made extra to take to work as well.

The shortbread picture was scratched off my #100bakeschallenge poster. Two challenges completed, ninety eight to go!

CRANBERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD

Serves 12-16 depending on how big you like your pieces.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 125g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g cornflour
  • 50g white chocolate chips (I use Callebaut)
  • 100g dried cranberries

Grease and line a 23cm/ 9″ square baking tin while you make the shortbread dough.

I make my shortbread dough in my KitchenAid as it stops me from handling the dough so much.

Cream the butter and sugar together in the mixer until it becomes light and fluffy.

Add the plain flour and cornflour to the mixture and bring it all together to form a ball of dough. Then fold through the white chocolate chips and cranberries.

Press the shortbread dough into the prepared tin ensuring that it is evenly spread and into all four corners of the tin. Prick the dough with a fork.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. The shortbread should be lightly golden. After about 10 minutes, cut the shortbread up into however many pieces you would like and let it cool down on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove from the tin and sprinkle with extra caster sugar. Although I forgot to do this on this occasion as I was trying to do about ten things at once, this is what I usually do!

If you bake this recipe, do let me know how you get on with it. Do you use other ingredients in your shortbread or add extra flavours?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

My Favourite Shortbread

There’s nothing better than a piece of freshly baked shortbread with a cup of tea or coffee. I love baking shortbread. It’s a simple recipe but a delicious one. For my shortbread, you only need 4 ingredients plus any flavour additions. But the plain shortbread, liberally dusted with caster sugar is just perfect.

I bake my shortbread in a 23cm (9″) square loose bottomed tin like I use for my brownies and cookie bars, although if you prefer you can bake it in a circular tin of the same size! I cut it into 12 or 16 pieces depending on who they’re for or what occasion they are going to be used for.

My Favourite Shortbread Recipe.

Ingredients needed:

  • 250g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g rice flour or cornflour

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 150oC fan (160oC in a conventional oven)/ 325oF/ Gas 3.
  • Grease and line your tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together either in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer until the mixture is creamy and fluffy.
  • Add in both types of flour to combine and bring together to form a dough.
  • If you are adding any flavours to your shortbread, then add them in now so they are combined well.
  • Press the dough carefully into the tin, ensuring the dough reaches all corners of the tin and that it is level. Prick the shortbread all over with a fork before putting into the pre-heated oven.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes approx. Watch out as shortbread can burn quickly!
  • When you take the shortbread out of the oven, give it 5 minutes or so to cool down and then cut it into the number of pieces you require. Keep it in the tin to cool down.
  • When completely cool, remove from the tin to a wire rack and sprinkle with lots of caster sugar.

There are lots of flavours you could add to the basic shortbread mixture to enhance it:

  • 100g chocolate chips (dark or milk) For orange chocolate shortbread, you could add the zest of an orange with the chocolate.
  • Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread: add 100g white chocolate chips and 75g dried cranberries
  • Stem Ginger Shortbread: add 75g chopped pieces of stem ginger and 1 tsp ground ginger.
  • Lemon Shortbread: add the grated zest of a lemon.
  • Chopping up your favourite chocolate bars such as salted Caramel Twix (I chop up two standard twin bars) These are one of my son’s favourites.
  • M&M Shortbread: use a sharing size pouch bag of the chocolate ones.

I’m sure there are lots of other shortbread flavours to discover, but these are the ones I love baking regularly. If you have any other flavour suffestions, then please do let me know.

My chocolate chip shortbread.

If you are short of time or don’t like baking yourself then we can provide Shortbread to order through our Facebook page or by contacting us via email. I know I will be sending a few boxes out in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

A Bake For All Seasons #2: Jammy Dodgers

3rd October 2021.

I always love Biscuit Week on the Great British Bake Off. It was great to see that this year’s contestants were asked to bake Jammy Dodgers for the Technical Bake. I love making Jammy Dodgers, although mine always look boring. I so need to get a set of those Nordicware Cookie Stamps as featured in the show to get that beautiful pattern on top of the biscuits.

If you are on Twitter, you might have heard of #TwitterBakeAlong which has been running for the last 5 years or so. Jackie (aka The Baking Nanna) and Rob run weekly challenges over on Twitter. During Bake Off Season it becomes #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong and bakers can enter one of the challenges like the contestants bake and submit a photo of their bake on Twitter. As I’m busy a lot with work commitments, I don’t always get to join in but I was able to for this week with my version of Jammy Dodgers.

I used the recipe in The Great British Bake Off: A Bake For All Seasons and I must admit it was different to my standard “roll out” biscuit recipe in that there was added cornflour in the recipe. I also felt that I could have done with double the quantity of dough as to get the quantity of biscuits out of the dough, I had to roll the dough so thinly. I used my KitchenAid mixer to bring the dough together so that I didn’t overwork it.

No way was I going to make my own jam to go inside the biscuits as the original contestants had to. I hadn’t got time for making jam as well. To be different from the traditional, I found some Lemon Curd in the cupboard which needed using up as well as some Cherry Curd which I’d found in a local supermarket. The dark pink colour was so pretty that I thought I’d use it as well. Instead of a heart shape cut out in the middle I looked in my cookie cutter boxes and found a splat type cutter which I’d used on a psychedelic 1970s style cake from a few years ago. I thought it would make a change from the hearts and stars and other shapes you might find in the middle of a Jammy Dodger or those Linzer style cookies.

I took the cookies with me to work and left them in the staff room. I was a bit ashamed of the actual biscuits to be honest. Because they rolled out so thinly, they caught round the edges and baked a lot quicker than expected. But everyone enjoyed them and that was the main thing.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Mickey Mouse Cupcakes and Cookies.

On Tuesday night I met up with a few of my friends over in Meanwood, Leeds at a fantastic new bar called Boot and Rally. We held a cake club event in the bar’s snug which was a great space with the perfect atmosphere. Since The Clandestine Cake Club folded in July last year we have continued to meet up.

The cake club events are slightly different to the Clandestine Cake Club ones in that we are not limited to only bringing a whole cake to cut into and share. We can bring anything we like linked to the theme be it sweet or savoury or cookies or any other bake. As my first love in baking has always been cookies I enjoy doing this. This month’s theme was Mickey Mouse’s Birthday as the Disney legend is celebrating his 90th birthday this year!

Things didn’t quite go to plan when I started baking on Tuesday afternoon. I only had a limited time to bake as I had been to have my nails done in the morning and then had to fit it all in before a hospital appointment on the way over to Cake club. My original plan was to bake a chocolate Bundt cake cut in half turned upright and made to look like Mickey Mouse’s head. The cake would be covered in a chocolate ganache made from Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate spread and Mickey’s ears would be made from Oreo cookies. I would use the leftover chocolate spread as the filling for some shortbread biscuits with Mickey Mouse heads cut out in the middle.

When I started to get the ingredients out of the cupboard and fridge to start the baking I had a nasty shock. I opened the jar of chocolate spread to find three quarters of it had gone! I was so upset and angry as the only person who knew it was there was my eighteen year old son. He had been at home from work on Monday when I was working so he had obviously helped himself to it! He knew it was for my cake club cake as he saw it when I was putting the shopping away after Tesco had delivered it last Friday. It’s not the sort of thing Mr SmartCookieSam eats and my daughter is away at uni. It wasn’t me and it definitely wasn’t the dog!

So after this nasty surprise, what to do now? I looked in the cupboards and was so glad to see that I still had cocoa powder and other ingredients for cupcakes as well as some mini Oreos. For the cookies, I thought maybe I could use jam inside instead. However, I didn’t have much jam left, only honey and marmalade. Or I could hardly give my friends biscuits sandwiched together with Branston Pickle or Colman’s Mustard. I had half a jar of Peach Bellini jam left but only just enough for a few biscuits.

The shortbread cookies are a simple recipe with only four ingredients: unsalted butter, caster sugar, plain flour and an egg combined together and then chilled in the fridge for half an hour. When ready to roll, I rolled out eighteen circles and put them well spaced apart on three lined baking trays. On nine of the circles I used a small Mickey Mouse head shaped cutter to stamp out the shape in the centre of the circle. These were then baked in the oven on 160oC (fan) for about 10-12 minutes. My oven is being really inaccurate at the moment and I noticed two cookies burnt on the right hand side. One of them also snapped when I lifted it off the tray. Well that one went straight in the bin. It turned out that there were only 7 out of 9 which were ok to use. Then another one broke. It definitely wasn’t my day!

So the cupcakes had to work out better. There wasn’t enough filling in the biscuits for the chocolate spread to be used or in the ganache of a whole cake for that matter so it ended up flavouring some chocolate buttercream in some cookies and cream cupcakes with mini Oreo cookies for Mickey Mouse ears sticking up.

I used about 12 mini cookies crumbled up and stirred into the cupcake batter which was a simple chocolate one. I baked the cupcakes in some blue cases with stars in which reminded me of Mickey Mouse’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice Hat from Fantasia.

The chocolate buttercream was made with 100g melted plain chocolate and the only quarter jar of chocolate spread which was left along with icing sugar, butter and some milk. The result was quite a creamy and rich buttercream.

All finished with about half an hour spare to clean up the kitchen, tidy up, get changed, box up the cupcakes and cookies and get to the hospital for my appointment in time.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Orange Chocolate Chip Shortbread.

Excuse the dire photography in this post.  Taking photos isn’t my strong point.  The photos didn’t do these tasty morsels justice.

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I baked these shortbread pieces for my family to eat at home while I was away staying away in Canada visiting my brother and his family.  I don’t think they remembered they were there as they were still in the plastic box I’d put them in over a week later when I got back home!

They’re adapted from a recipe in Mary Berry’s “Cooks The Perfect…Step By Step” which I’m really enjoying cooking from at the moment. The original recipe is for individual shortbread round biscuits but I chose to put all the dough together in a square loose bottomed tin and cut it into pieces instead.  I had some Sugar and Crumbs Natural Flavour Chocolate Orange Cocoa powder which I love using so instead of using plain cocoa powder, I used that instead.  Absolutely delicious and the smell of chocolate and orange was heavenly.

The recipe introduction says: ” Buttery and very moreish, few can resist these delicious cookies.”  Mary’s original recipe also contains semolina of which she states “brings a lovely crunch,”  I didn’t have any semolina so I added cornflour instead which I use in my normal shortbread recipe.

Here’s my adaptation of the recipe.  The original recipe can be found in Mary Berry’s book.

Makes 12-16 pieces depending on how big or small you like your pieces of shortbread.  Use an 8″ square loose bottomed tin and pre-grease it with either butter or Cake Release.

Ingredients:

75g cornflour

140g plain flour

75g caster sugar

25g Sugar and Crumbs Natural Flavoured Chocolate Orange Cocoa Powder

175g butter

100g plain, dark chocolate chips/ dark chocolate chunks or alternatively chop up your own bar of chocolate.

First, pre-heat your oven to 1600C/fan 140oC/235oF/Gas 3.

Put all the cornflour, flour, sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl.  Mix well so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

When this is done, add the butter in and rub it in with your fingers.  I find it easier to cut the butter up into small cubes first so it takes less rubbing in and handling. It needs to be at room temperature too, so take it out of the fridge in good time!

Make your mixture up into a ball of dough.  Press into the square baking tin and make sure it is evenly covering the bottom of the tin. It helps to press down with the back of a spoon.  Prick the surface of the shortbread with a fork.

Bake in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes until firm to the touch.  Transfer the shortbread to a wire cooling rack and cut into squares or pieces as soon as you can.

 

Cranberry, White Chocolate and Coconut Magic Bars. 

I’d had a manic few days at work so to come into the kitchen and bake was a great tonic for me.  I feel guilty every time I bake at the moment though.  I shouldn’t be doing it as eating the sugary stuff is not good for my health. But at the same time I love the process of making it. Why does baking always feel so much more exciting to me than cooking a casserole or a roast dinner?

It was a cold, damp and foggy Thursday morning last week and I was very tired.  I’d taken my son to the bus stop three miles away and gone out and walked the dog.  My warm, cosy and inviting kitchen beckoned. As I was walking across the muddy field with my dog, all I could think about was getting back home and into my kitchen.  I was thinking about some ingredients I had in the cupboard left over from Christmas. These included two bars of white chocolate and some dried cranberries.  It was a miracle that the chocolate hadn’t been nicked by the kids but then one of them is away at uni! My son has been trying to eat sensibly too.

Looking through one of my favourite cookbooks The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, I found the perfect recipe on page 49 for Cranberry Magic Bars.  There wasn’t a picture to accompany the recipe so I had to guess what they might look like. From looking at the ingredient list it said what I needed for the base and for the topping. So that meant it was baked in two parts. Nothing explaining it in the recipe introduction either.  I had to go on my own instincts here and worked out that the bars were made up of a shortbread type base and topped with a condensed milk, chocolate, dessicated coconut and dried  fruit concoction. Sounded scrumptious to me.

Luckily I had a tin of condensed milk in my baking stash from Christmas. Bought with the intent of using it to make fudge with, it never got used.  I also needed white chocolate, cranberries and pecans.  I didn’t have any pecans. The only nuts I had left was some flaked almonds so I put those in the recipe instead of the pecans.

I lined and greased my well loved Alan Silverwood Traybake pan and then put the made up base into the bottom of it.  This was quite a challenge.  The base had to be extremely thin and I ended up pressing it down with the back of a spoon to make it even.  It only just covered the bottom of the tin.  Into the oven it went at 150oC (fan oven) for about 15-20 minutes. I wanted the base to be a gentle golden brown.

While the base was being baked I made the topping.  This was simple enough. The condensed milk, white chocolate, cranberries, desiccated coconut and the nuts were mixed together.  I used a whole 100g bar of white chocolate chopped up instead of a bag of  white chocolate chips. I had two bars but I thought I’d save the other one for another time. The mixture was spread onto the base and back into the oven it went for about 20 minutes.

Being as I wasn’t sure what the bars were meant to look like, it was confusing. When they came out of the oven they looked a bit boring. So, to make them more enticing to eat I melted my other bar of white chocolate and piped on a lattice pattern onto the cooled bars. They smelled absolutely gorgeous and I was tempted to grab at one and eat it there and then.

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I will definitely be making these again.  I usually have a stall at my village’s Open Gardens event every May selling my cookies and cupcakes so these might end up on the stall. You never know!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Stem Ginger Shortbread #GBBOtwitterbakealong

When August comes around, it’s always exciting in lots of ways.  For me being a teacher the summer is my one chance to catch up.  It’s also usually when my family go on our summer holiday.  This year we went away in July instead but there has still been loads of things to enjoy.  Not only that but August means Great British Bake Off time!  This year it’s starting later (think it’s Wednesday August 24th) due to the Olympics but the excitement and the build up for GBBO fans has started already.

On Twitter I love to get involved with anything GBBO related and a few of my Twitter followers and friends are doing a bake along.  It’s called #GBBOTwitterBakealong and there’s a different theme each week. When the Bake Off is actually on, we’ll be baking something from the show like the technical bake for that week or something connected with that week’s theme.  This week on the Twitter Bake Along has been biscuits so we had to bake some biscuits and post them on Twitter.  I love any excuse to bake biscuits so I had a look at what was left in my baking cupboard and also looked at recipes I wanted to have a go at.

I looked in Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cooking and found the perfect recipe for busy weekend baking around all the other jobs I had to do.  It was her recipe for Stem Ginger Shortbread.  My whole family love it when I bake shortbread for them but aren’t so keen on the ginger.  The recipe called for five balls of stem ginger and that’s exactly what I had to use up.  It’s funny how my kids say they don’t like my ginger cookies, yet when I bake them they miraculously disappear.

Out came my well used and loved Alan Silverwood traybake tin.  It’s been bought thinking of Mary Berry and traybakes though this time, it was to make shortbread fingers.  I greased it carefully with Wilton Cake Release then started on the shortbread itself.  The stem ginger needed to be rinsed and patted dry so that the sticky syrup came off it.  This was easy enough and then I chopped the ginger into little chunks to go into the shortbread.  When I’d finished this, I then started on the shortbread itself.  I put tiny cubes of butter into a large mixing bowl and then added plain flour, rice flour and caster sugar to the mixture.  Mary’s recipe used semolina but I didn’t have any so I used some rice flour from the last time I baked shortbread. It gives the shortbread a nutty taste but works wonderfully well in the recipe.  All the ingredients were rubbed in together and then formed to make up a dry dough. At this stage, I tossed in the chopped stem ginger and then mixed it into the dough evenly.

The dough was carefully pressed into the tin with a back of a teaspoon so that it was level. To give it a crunchy topping Mary Berry suggested sprinkling on two tablespoonfuls of  Demerara sugar to the top of the shortbread.  I didn’t have any demerara sugar so I used light brown muscovado sugar instead. This was a bit clumpy though.

The shortbread baked for about 40 minutes and by this time it had turned a pale golden brown.  The smell was just heavenly and I was so tempted to scoff one there and then.  But I had to let them cool down so they could be cut up into fingers!

The shortbread fingers were divine and they went down very well.  As I type the day after, there are only 4 left! I need my jaw wiring with shortbread around! I didn’t eat them all though, please believe me!

The shortbread was cut into 12 fingers. Though one finger is never enough!

The Stem Ginger shortbread fingers were sprinkled with two types of sugar.

Stem Ginger Shortbread- from Mary Berry’s latest recipe book Foolproof Cooking.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Double Chocolate Fudge Shortbread

Last week was a very busy one and I found myself going forwards meeting myself going backwards. I’d been away in London for the weekend with my friends watching Wet Wet Wet play at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and then it was a busy week at work.

 On Wednesday though, I had been in a school an hour away from me and when I got home I just wanted to switch off. Baking is one way I do switch off and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Once I’m in baking mode I’m in my own little world where I feel comfortable. When I feel like baking it’s difficult to decide what to make but I love baking biscuits. They’re quick to prepare and don’t take long to bake.

Though there are some times when you think great. I can do this. Then there are other times when life gets busy and you think why did I bother? This last Wednesday was one of those occasions. I’d decided on something chocolatey and started to get the ingredients together only to find my husband and daughter had eaten scrambled eggs at breakfast and used the last of the eggs up. So it had to be a cookie dough without eggs in it as there was no way I was getting in the car and going out to buy eggs especially. I knew my usual shortbread recipe didn’t have eggs in it so I thought that was the way to go. Then I realised it was a crumbly dough so would need chilling. After a bit of experimentation I came up with a double chocolate cookie shortbread dough with chocolate chips in the mixture.

I softened butter and rubbed it together with plain flour and some Cocoa powder. When this was turned into breadcrumbs I then added some caster sugar. The mixture was then worked together into a ball and then I mixed in a bag of plain chocolate chips. The ball of dough was then wrapped in cling film and was meant to be left in the fridge for an hour or so. 

Only it didn’t happen! I put the dough in the fridge and soon forgot about it as I ended up taking my son and his friend to York and didn’t get back home until much later. By that time it was too late to bake the cookies and for the next two days I would be teaching. Baking would be the last thing I would have time for.  

It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that I had the time to do something with the chilled dough.  My son saw it in the fridge and wondered what it was. I rolled it into a long sausage shape which unfortunately looked like a gigantic poo and sliced about 20 equal pieces off it to form identical cookies. 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Dough, don’t laugh about its appearance!
The cookies were then put on three baking trays which I lined with baking parchment. They went into the oven for about 10-15 minutes. 

The unbaked cookies on the baking sheet ready to be put in the oven.
When the cookies came out of the oven I had to leave them to harden slightly before I tried to move them onto a cooling rack. If I’d done it straightaway the cookies would have broken. While they were cooling down I found a bar of plain chocolate in my baking cupboard and I melted this in the microwave. The cooled cookies were dipped in melted chocolate and left to set. As they were setting the melted chocolate dripped down the sides and through the gaps in the rack. I found a plastic mat to stick underneath to catch the drips.  

The cookies were topped with a melted chocolate icing and some chocolate covered fudge pieces.
As a finishing touch I sprinkled on some chocolate fudge covered pieces I’d found in Marks and Spencer’s the other week. They were in a little tub in the food hall baking section and I thought they might be nice on some cupcakes. I found out that the little piggies in my house had opened the tub and a few were missing. I thought I’d better get them used up before the rest ended up being troughed. Though I tasted one and they were so yummy I was tempted to have another.. And another! 

Some edible glitter to add the finishing touches.
With the chocolate covered fudge pieces on top of my cookies there was just one more finishing touch- some edible glitter! 

I’m ashamed to say I had a real diet fail of epic proportions with these cookies. I took one look at them and grabbed one to eat there and then! I was lucky some managed to come off the wire rack and into the biscuit tin!

Though they went down well with my family, I think the cookies would be great plain or with the dipped melted chocolate on top. Decorating is entirely up to you!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon Empire Biscuits- Mercers Of York Lemon Cheese.

 

I had a fantastic time baking while using my favourite Mercers of York cherry jam, lemon cheese and caramel sauce.
 

A couple of weeks ago when I was at the BBC Good Food Show in Harrogate I went up to the Mercers of Yorkshire stand and stocked up.  I’ve been a massive fan of their sauces, jams, marmalades and chutneys over the past couple of years or so.  Their Lemon Cheese (a bit like Lemon Curd) is absolutely divine and is easily the best out there.  To me though, I wouldn’t just put it on toast, it makes a fantastic baking ingredient.  I got my baking thinking cap on and decided to see how I could use the Lemon Cheese in a recipe.  These Lemon Empire biscuits are gorgeous and are perfect for a Springtime treat.

  

To bake the biscuits I used a simple roll out cookie recipe and added the grated zest of a lemon to it.

Makes 16 cookies (32 cookies sandwiched together)

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

400g plain flour

1 large free range egg, beaten

Grated zest of one lemon.

  • First, preheat your oven to 160Oc (my oven is electric and fan assisted), then weigh out all your ingredients. Cut the butter up into small cubes and add the sugar and flour to the bowl. Gently rub the mixture together until you get fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated lemon zest.
  • Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the beaten egg to it.  Mix this together to form a ball of dough, first with a round bladed knife and then with your hands. When you have the ball of dough, wrap it up in cling film and chill for about half an hour in the fridge.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut rounds of dough with a 6cm diameter circular cutter.  Gather up the scraps and reroll out the dough until it is used up.
  • Put the biscuit rounds on flat baking trays which have been lined with baking parchment. Make sure they are well spaced apart. I usually put 6 biscuits on a tray at a time.  They might need to be baked in batches.  This usually takes around ten minutes.
  • Once the biscuits have been out of the oven for about 5 minutes, I remove them from the trays and put them on a wire rack to finish cooling off.

To decorate the biscuits I sandwiched them together with the Mercers Lemon Cheese.  Once this was done then I made up a simple lemon glace icing.  This was done with 250g sifted icing sugar and about 3 tbsp water to achieve the right spreading consistency. To continue with the lemon theme I added a couple of drops of yellow food colouring to give it a delicate yellow flavour. Over the years I’ve made many mistakes when colouring icing getting a bit heavy handed with the colouring and ending up with something you would be blinded by! Thankfully by using  SugarFlair pastes and a cocktail stick dabbing the paste in bit by bit, things end up looking a lot better.  Finally, I spread the icing carefully on the top of the biscuits and finished them off with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands.

 

I love sprinkles and hundreds and thousands but despite cleaning and hoovering up, I’m. still finding them all over the floor!
  

A zesty lemon shortbread recipe sandwiched together with Mercers Lemon Cheese and topped with a lemon glace icing and hundreds and thousands.
 

I love Empire Biscuits, especially the ones with cherries on top and couldn’t get enough of them on holiday in Scotland a couple of years ago.  They tasted fantastic and I came home wanting to bake some myself.  This lemon version went down very well at home and I must admit I caved in and ate one with a cup of tea after I went out running. Well, I did need the energy I suppose.  I only used half the jar of the Lemon Cheese so the rest went in the cupboard for my family to have on toast.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx