Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine’s biscuits

I must confess that everything about Valentine’s Day makes me recoil from it with great speed – it’s so cynically marketed and, if you love someone, why do you need to be told to demonstrate it on a particular day? Why not every day?

Anyway, rant over (it’s fairly hypocritical anyway as I bought a card, gifts etc for Mr CC), this is my attempt at some Valentine’s baking. You can of course make these biccies at any time of year and ‘seasonalise’ (I’ve invented a word) them by using a different shaped cutter. And well worth making they are too as they are short and buttery and crispy but also crumbly. Just about my perfect biscuit.

When you bite into these you might well think they are shortbread – they aren’t, but they have a similar texture. If you cut a little shape out of the middle of some of the biscuits you can sandwich them with a whole one and create a pretty little window effect.

I sandwiched some with nutella, some with raspberry jam and left some plain. Don’t add the filling until the day of eating otherwise you might lose some of the crispness of the biscuit.

You can reroll any cut outs but I baked them – you are rewarded with delicious little crisp mouthfuls of biscuity heaven!


For the biscuits:
225g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
100g ground almonds

To sandwich (optional): nutella or raspberry jam. I suspect any jam or curd would work well.

How to make:

- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until a dough just starts to form.

- Knead the dough into a ball and then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum (it’s a very soft dough so needs this long).

- Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan oven 120°C/275°F/Gas mark 1.

- Line two large baking sheets with baking or greaseproof paper.

- Remove the dough from the fridge and knead until it has softened. If it is still sticky add some more flour and knead this in. I added about a further 2-3 tablespoons.

- Cut the dough in half and roll one half out between two sheets of generously floured baking paper. Normally I wouldn’t flour baking paper but this dough needed it – use your judgement.

- Roll it out to 1/2cm thick and then cut out using your chosen cutter. If you’re planning to sandwich the biscuits take a smaller cutter and cut the centre out of half the biscuits.

- Place the biscuits and the cut out middles onto a baking sheet leaving about 1-2cm gap between them as they expand on baking.

- Repeat with the second ball of dough.

- Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the biscuits are a pale golden brown. I was sceptical at a long bake at a low temperature but loved the effect – the biscuit had a much more delicate texture to it. Mine actually took a little over 40 minutes but it’s worth it. Check after 20 minutes in case the trays need turning to ensure an even bake.

- Place the trays on a cooling rack and let the biscuits cool. Don’t even think about moving them until they are cold as they are too fragile and will break.

- Store in an airtight container until you wish to serve, then sandwich with nutella or jam. Of course, you can leave them plain and enjoy the buttery almond taste on its own!

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Lucie said...

Sooo cute! Hope Mr CC enjoyed them. x

Soo said...

Nice looking biscuits -- and I like the balance of Valentine's Day cynicism and romance!!

Beth said...

I'm, a bit like you re V day - but I always try and make an effort for hubby. These look v cute

Joy said...

Very sweet and making the best of a Valentines day!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

They look super-professional - and perfect for winning over even the least romantic person, I would have thought!

Choclette said...

Despite your Valantine's protestations, you have produced some amazing biscuits. They look wonderful and I'm sure will be (have been) greatly enjoyed. Cutting out a middle bit really makes them look professional. Another one of yours to try.

Jacqueline said...

Oh, the filled ones for me, definitely! Nom, Nom :D

Katie said...

They look lovely and perfect for your loved one any time of year. I used to love rerolling the scrapes to make mini biscuits when I was younger, mum always used to let us do this with any leftovers. They were such a treat

GeNiaL said...

They are so geourgous!!! Yuummmm

Ling's Passion said...

Love the heart shape cookies. Wishing you and CCB Happy Valentine.

Cakelaw said...

These are so cute!