Valentine's Day is finally upon us, and although I'm one of those people that doesn't actually celebrate the day, I like to make things a little festive and come up with something fun to mark another holiday. Last year we made focaccia, and as much as I'm still dreaming (and drooling) about that bread, I wanted to make something quick, simple, fun, and VERY sweet!
My classic chocolate shortbread cookies also have a hint of orange this time from my Homemade Candied Orange Peel I made at Christmas, that recipe is here for you if you wanted to have a go, but it's completely optional, I was only using it to show off...and it needed using up.
These cookies are not as difficult as they might look, they use very basic ingredients and take no longer than 1h 10min including prep, chilling, cooking, dipping, and cooling!
So with all that being said, I present to you my "Half-Hearted" (get it?) shortbread cookies!
Makes 12 cookies
120g Butter, softened
50g Caster Sugar
180g Plain Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
10g-30g Candied Orange Peel (optional)
200g Milk Chocolate, melted for coating
To start with cream the butter and sugar together until it's soft and light.
Tip in the flour, salt, vanilla extract, and egg and mix into a thick dough before adding in the chocolate and candied peel, you should end up with a thick but pliable dough.
Tip the dough out onto a well-floured surface and GENTLY knead for 30 seconds just to bring it together.
Roll out the dough to around half an inch thick, I like thick cookies especially when they're shortbread, I find they bake better and have a better texture too. I used my heart-shaped pancake mould to make bigger cookies but you can choose whatever mould you want! Place the cookies on a greased baking tray or silicon baking mat once done. Keep re-rolling the dough out to use it all up and you should end up with 11-12 cookies.
Place the cookies in the fridge for 30 mins, this helps to keep their shape when baking. In the last 10 mins of chilling preheat the oven to 200C/ 180 Fan/ Gas Mark 6.
After chilling split the cookies up onto 2 trays as you'll need around 1-2 inches of space between each cookie so they have room to spread and rise. Using a fork prick holes a few times around each cookie to allow the heat to get through the dough when baking.
Bake in the oven for 15-18 mins until crisp and golden brown, leave to cool for 5 mins.
Now for the chocolate! Put your spare chocolate into a large wide mug/bowl and place in the microwave on low heat, heating for 30 seconds before stirring, repeat this until the chocolate has melted. You need to find a bowl or mug big enough to dip the cookies in but small enough to keep the chocolate deep enough for dipping! It's a hard balance!
This is the fun part, one at a time dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate so that half of the heart is covered, gently smooth over with a spoon and make sure the side and bottom half are covered evenly too, I used a fork and carefully glooped the chocolate on one side before smoothing it out after it got a bit difficult to dip the cookies in the mug.
Chill the cookies again in the fridge for 20-30 mins to firm up that chocolate, then you can finally dig in!
And there you go! My Valentine's Half-Hearted Cookies, these sweet, rich and delicious cookies will surely impress anyone you share them with, and if you'd prefer...there's nothing wrong with treating yourself today and making these as a little self-love exercise.
I really enjoyed making them and they're definitely suitable for all ages (just be careful with the hot melted chocolate coming out the microwave!) and all skill levels, obviously, you dont have to make these heart shaped, you don't have to put melted chocolate on them and you don't have to make them just for Valentine's Day, this is an easy recipe that can be adapted to whatever mood or season you're in!
I hope you have a lovely day today whatever you choose to do with it, myself and my partner are working all the way through until almost midnight tonight so we celebrated early by staying up last night and watching The Super Bowl...shame about those Tigers, haha! But anyway, regardless of whether you spend it with a partner, much-loved family and friends or practise some self-love, you definitely need to share a little more love than usual today, I know we all need it!
In my next post, we'll be giving the recipes a rest and getting back into another book review!
Happy Valentine's Day!