Saturday, 20 September 2014

Pecan shortbread; cake or biscuit...

I'm not quite sure how I feel about turning 30 but it is happening on Monday. You always picture what you think your life will be like at 30 when you are younger; that you will be ready, organised, and generally got things sorted. But really your 20s just end with a sudden halt and 30 is there and that's that. If nothing else, it is a good chance to reassess things and check you are on the path you want to be. Maybe I am being dramatic and it is just another year blah blah blah. Down to the important things in life... what birthday cake do I make... I will come back to this but for now I will share this lovely recipe.

I'm still excited by the British Bake Off book that T got as a new job present. I have been mooching through the book and tying to decide on what to bake first. Going in order seemed only logical. I went for a 'one spoon' challenge (the easy one - I thought I should work my way up as they are Paul and Mary standard) and made some chocolate and pecan shortbread ('Pecan shorties' in the book). I learnt that using icing sugar makes it a lot less crumbly than caster sugar (though not quite as sweet it seems).

The magic ingredients: -        
75g Pecan halves
250g Plain flour
175g unsalted butter, softened
85g icing sugar sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g Dark chocolate

Abracadabra: -
1. Heat the oven to 180C and toast the nuts in a small tin for 5-7 minutes. Leave to cool and chop coarsely.
2. Beat the butter with  wooden spoon in a mixing bowl until creamy. (It is just more rewarding using manually labour and not going for the electric mixer. Burn the calories before you make it!)
3. Beat in the icing, one spoon at a time, then add the vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and nuts to make a firm dough.
5. Divide into 12 small pieces and put on baking paper. (The book says 20 but mine worked out nicely as 12)
6. Squash the balls down with your hand so they are flat and 1 cm thick, 5.5 cm across.
7. Bake for 14-16 minutes until golden (This is the book, mine were in for 20 minutes but it depends on the personality of the oven.)
8. Put on a wire rack to cool after 5 minutes.
9. When the biscuits are cold, heat the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water. 
10. Dip the biscuits in the chocolate (careful of fingers, it's hot!) and leave to cool. 

These are by far the best shortbreads I have made and would work equally as well with milk chocolate and maybe some desiccated coconut sprinkled on them so it sticks to the chocolate. I would never say no to some cinnamon in the biscuit mix either. 

I'm new to this blogging stuff and I'm not sure if I need to share it differently to what I'm doing or if people are reading it / like it so please feel free to leave a comment :) 

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