Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Vanilla Bean, Brown Sugar and Brandy Shortbread.

Firstly, I don’t know if you read other foody-pants blogs, or if you open your eyes as you walk down the high street, but if you do, you will have been made very aware that Valentine’s day will be here soon. Now I don’t really do the whole ‘holiday themed’ stuff much around here, apart from at Christmas, because well, you know, I remember it’s Christmas befoooooore it’s too late to do the appropriate baking.

Second, I assume that most of you lovely folks that stop by here are of the female variety and therefore absolutely do not require, nor desire, any sort of reminder of this imminent day...but I just thought that even if only one chap stumbles across my twaddlings, it might be worth putting the message out there, in a pink-glitter-free way, you know, so he doesn’t get too scared and click away.....before I tell him that YES it IS a big day and however much you think that ‘oh no, we don’t really do Valentine’s day’, doesn’t mean sheeee doesn’t do Valentine’s day and that however little energy and time you have left, you absolutely MUST do something about it. Please, for hopeless romantics everywhere.

So here I am with my dowdy looking, but oh so special tasting, biscuits, in an attempt to save the section of womankind that care, from a disappointing February 14th , and to demonstrate that whatever it is that you do for your special one, it doesn’t have to be red and fluffy (there probably should be at least one heart shape involved though, and, well, there’s nothing wrrrooong with pink glitter).

So go forth and DON’T FORGET or ASSUME THAT, for some reason, YOU’RE OFF THE HOOK. And I promise not to mention the subject here again...until next year, when no doubt more reminding will be required, or until I want to use my superspesh vintage, from NYC don’t ya know, heart cutter again...whichever comes first. With Love and Cake.

Vanilla, Brown Sugar and Brandy Shortbread.

A few notes:
  • If you don't have any brandy, and I wouldn't necessarily suggest that you buy some especially for this recipe, just replace it with the same amount of water.
  • Of course, the heart situation is optional; feel free to make them any shape you fancy.
  • As usual with things like this, I prefer to use my food processor, but this is not a necessity...you can just as easily combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, rub the butter in with your finger tips and bring together to a dough by hand when you add the liquid.
Should make around 20 biscuits
You will need

2xbaking sheets, well greased

200g plain flour
100g cornflour
100g soft brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seed removed
200g butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp brandy

  • Pulse the two types of flour and sugar in your food processor to combine.
  • Add the vanilla seeds and butter and whizz until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the vanilla extract and brandy and pulse until the mix starts to come together to form a dough.
  • Roll the dough out on a clean, floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin.
  • Cut out your shapes, using a 5cm cutter, and lay them on the baking sheets with a few cm gap in between each one.
  • Chill the biscuits in the fridge while the oven preheats to 170°c.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, swapping the baking sheets around halfway through, so that they both get a turn at the top of the oven where it's probably hottest.
  • They're done when they only JUST start to bronze around the edge.
  • Leave the biscuits to firm up on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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