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Thursday 17 October 2013

Baking for Beginners: Minty Millionaire's Shortbread

Now my sweet tooth is somewhat limited in what it can handle and as much as I love the idea of Millionaire's Shortbread, I just can't eat more then a nibble without a gallon of tea and possibly a box of cheese straws to combat the sweetness. The sugary culprit being that sickly sweet layer of caramel.

But then I thought, why does it have to be caramel? Remember Viscounts? Those minty posh biscuits that came wrapped in bright green foil and tasted oh so good? As a kid I would always zero in on that shiny grown up treat like a mint-seeking missile, and then use the leftover foil to make myself a pretty festive hair accessory (complete with crumbs and chocolate smears, sorry mum).

Anyhoo this is how the Minty Millionaire's Shortbread was born, I just replaced that tricky caramel with a simple and refreshing layer of peppermint cream. Please also feel free to use this recipe as an excuse to purchase some cute Halloween cookie cutters like I did!

Minty Millionaire's Shortbread (makes about 12 biscuits depending on size)
You will need:

For the chocolate shortbread:
  • 150g cubed softened butter
  • 80g sugar
  • 140g plain flour
  • 80g rice flour
  • 2 tbsp coco powder
  • pinch of salt

For the minty filling:
  • 250g icing sugar (plus more for kneading)
  • 120g condensed milk
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint essence
  • 150g chopped dark chocolate (for melting)

Make it!
The shortbread:
  1. Throw the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together with either a mixer or good old fashioned elbow grease and wooden spoon.
  2. Chuck in the rest of the shortbread ingredients and mix thoroughly, pressing it together in to a dense chocolatey dough.
  3. Roll your dough out to roughly the size of a pre lined standard 20cm/8inch cake tin and press it in to the bottom. Or you can cut out your desired shapes with cookie cutters, recombining the dough and rolling it out again and again until it's all gone. Pop the shortbread in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 165C/325F/Gas Mark 3.
  5. Prick the shortbread gently with a fork and pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until it's nice and slightly browned. Take it out and, if you've made one big piece quickly, score the shortbread while it's still soft from the heat into whatever sized pieces you wish. Once that's done (or if you cut out shapes) place it on a rack to cool. 
The peppermint filling:
  1. Chuck the icing sugar, condensed milk and peppermint essence in a bowl and mix it all together until it becomes soft and smackable. Throw it on a clean kitchen surface with a dusting of icing sugar and knead it in the icing sugar (add more to stop it sticking) until it's super malleable but no longer sticky.
  2. Set a clean bowl over some simmering water in a small pan and get the dark chocolate melting.
  3. Roll the peppermint cream out so it fits the cake tin or start cutting out the same shapes to fit your pre-cut biscuits. You don't have to exactly match the shape e.g. I cut out crescent moon shapes for the round biscuits. Do whatever you like, it'll still taste awesome when it's in your mouth.
  4. Brush the top of the shortbread with the melted chocolate before placing the peppermint cream on top and press it down gently. For the cake tin version cut across the peppermint cream and into the same lines you made on the shortbread creating the individual pieces.
  5. Now brush the top with more of the chocolate Or, for a cheaty sophisticated look, flick the chocolate across in diagonal lines (warning this CAN ruin your favourite jumper so apron up!) and leave on a rack to set. Feel free to throw some more cut peppermint cream shapes on top to decorate.
  6. Make tea and eat! Sharing is optional.

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