Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Chocolate Topped Orange Shortbread Hearts

Since the honey wheat bread had annoyed me with its refusal to turn out right the first two times, I was determined to bake something else alongside the third attempt that really ought to turn out fine.  So I decided on biscuits because I really like homemade biscuits and feel I've gotten much better at them over the last year.

I've been wanting to do an orange flavoured biscuits coated in chocolate for a while now.  The idea just sounds heavenly.  The recipe I chose was actually one I'd stumbled across a while ago but had forgotten about.  I just happened to chance upon it again whilst browsing for a good biscuit that was a bit crunchy.

I will admit, I intended to cover the entire biscuit in chocolate.  Unfortunately, I did a silly thing and left the chocolate unattended whilst I was melting it and it got a bit too hot, and so started seizing up.  I managed to rescue it with some whisking, which got it smooth again, but it was too thick for dipping properly and I just could not get it to thin out.  So I had to settle for just covering the tops.  The fiancé thinks this is a better idea though because otherwise you'd get chocolate over your hands when trying to eat it.  I did make sure to watch the white chocolate though, so it was runny enough to drizzle.  I've still not got the hang of drizzling.  It always looks messy.  I've opted for quickly shaking the spoon back and forth over the biscuit I'm decorating.  Maybe I should have used the old standby of putting it in a piping bag?  Oh well, they were just for me and the fiancé to enjoy anyway.  No need to be overly neat in that case.

I made one slight change to the recipe, which was I used orange extract rather than zest.  I don't keep oranges in my house and buying one for the sake of the zest seems wasteful, especially as I have extract just sitting in my cupboard.  I also like the flavour my extract gives things.  So lovely and orangey.  I don't think it hurt that it meant I added a tiny bit of liquid to the dough, helping it form together better.  I also found the commenters on the original recipe were right about the baking time being longer than suggested, so will be making that amendment in my write-up.

What can I say about the taste, other than they are so GOOD!  Honestly, they are just delicious.  You get a lovely burst of orange when you bite into the crunchy biscuit, and then it's quickly followed by the lovely creamy chocolate and it blends nicely together.  I loved them, as did the fiancé and they're pretty much gone now.  They barely lasted two days, and that's because we were being fairly restrained.  I will definitely be making these again at some point.

Recipe - adapted from Rachel Allen via 4Food
Makes about 24 biscuits
  • 100g/3.5oz butter, softened and diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g/5.3oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g/1.7oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp orange extract (or zest of 1 orange)
  • 85g/3oz milk chocolate
  • 40g/1.4oz white chocolate
  • Orange blossom tint powder (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease two baking trays with butter.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl.
  3. Dice up the butter and add to the flour, rubbing it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs and there are no large lumps of butter.
  4. Add the sugar and the orange extract and mix together until you get a stiff dough (you may need to use your hands).  Do not add any additional liquid.
  5. Lightly dust a worktop and rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough until about 5mm/0.25inch thick.
  6. Use a 6.5cm/2.5inch heart shaped cutter to cut out biscuits from the dough, transferring them to the greased trays with a palette knife or spatula.  Be sure to space them evenly apart.  I got 12 on each tray.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden.
  8. Remove and leave on the trays for one minute, before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Whilst the biscuits cool, melt the milk chocolate by breaking it into pieces and placing in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  10. Dip the top side of the biscuits in the chocolate, shaking to removed the excess.  If you want, you can use a knife to smooth it out.  Place back on the wire rack to set. 
  11. Melt the white chocolate in the same way as the milk chocolate.  If using, stir in the orange blossom tint.
  12. Place a sheet of baking parchment beneath the wire rack to catch any drips, and then drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the biscuits.  Leave to set.

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