I used to be very, very afraid of baking. It’s so easy to mess something up compared to cooking, and I speak from a position of experience on that one. If you can think of a baking disaster, chances are I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I went through a phase of completely forgetting to add ingredients to things. Mummy Swan, however, will never forget the ginger biscuits I made without adding sugar (she was very kind about it to be fair, thanks Mum!). This shortbread was a kind of ‘sea change’ in my baking fortunes *touches wood*, being one of the first recipes I tried with reasonably impressive, edible results and which didn’t make me cry with frustration.
Shortbread is actually surprisingly easy to make, and these swirls are a bit fiddly but the end result is more impressive than the effort you put in which is exactly the kind of baking I like! In terms of getting a perfect swirl your results will definitely be a bit hit and miss, but that just makes your biscuits look more home made and lovely in my opinion.
The recipe makes about 20 biscuits which will keep for a few days in an airtight container. They’re best on the evening you bake them though, so I tend to make a batch and then give them to as many people as I possibly can. Spread the baking love and all that!
Apologies for the fuzzy photos in this post – I didn’t realise until afterwards how terrible they were but I thought it’s better to show you in a slightly fuzzy way than leave you guessing!
You will need:
150g plain flour
50g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
125g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
50g caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g of plain or milk chocolate. You can use fancy choc, but sometimes there’s nothing wrong with dairy milk…
What to do:
- Mix all of the dry ingredients for shortbread 1
- Chop the butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients
- Take off any rings you have on (a step you won’t find in many cookbooks, but an essential one nonetheless)
- Get in there with your hands and ‘rub’ the mixture together to break up your butter, once you have a breadcrumb-like mixture start to bring it together with your hands. Knead it gently until you have a round ball of dough. Put to one side.
- Do the same with the shortbread 2 ingredients. Put both balls of dough in the fridge to chill out for half an hour
- Chill out for half an hour…
- Get some baking parchment or this next bit, sprinkle a little bit of flour on the parchment and rub some on a rolling pin, roll out your shortbread 1 dough until you have a roughly even rectangular shape. When you first start rolling this it may crack a bit, just persevere, it will come good in the end!
- On a different piece of parchment, do the same with the shortbread 2 dough so that they are roughly the same size. Don’t fret too much about it, these biscuits are going to look ‘rustic’ no matter how good you are.
- Put shortbread 1 dough on top of shortbread 2 dough
- Start rolling, using the baking parchment to support your dough. Try to roll as tightly as you can and don’t worry if your chocolate pokes through or your dough splits
- When you have a roll, pinch the ends to stop the chocolate escaping and start squeezing and rolling it until it gets to about 30cm long.
- Take a sharp knife and cut the roll into about 1cm thick slices
- Put these on a baking tray and bake in a 150ºC oven for about 25m until your plain shortbread has darkened slightly, leave to cool
- Take into work, feel generous, receive compliments graciously