Shortbread is one of the most delicious cookies I could imagine – it’s buttery taste, crumbly texture and the opportunity to add all kinds of other ingredients to lift it to a whole new level. And why not make these gorgeous little delights for the one you love this Valentine’s Day? They are super easy to make and can be cut into any shape you have a cutter for, and so I went with a medium sized heart shape. And I decided to half dip these beauties into some deliciously smooth milk chocolate to add a different flavour. The basic shortbread recipe below has been adapted from the one in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook an is just lovely.
180 grams unsalted butter, softened
90 grams granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
270 grams plain / all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar for dusting
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream until smooth.
Add the 90 grams sugar and the salt and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to distribute it evenly.
Add the flour in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any flour that may have settled there.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so, until firm.
This is where the recipe itself ends, as I have changed it slightly to allow for individual cookies.
Preheat the oven to 325 F / 170 C / 150 C fan. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and roll it on a board to the desired depth.
Use your cookie cutter to create as many cookies as you can. I cut 15 cookies out of the dough, but you could make more if the cookies are smaller. Place them onto the prepared baking sheets and dust the tops of the shortbread with granulated sugar. Bake until pale golden brown, about 16 minutes. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
When the cookies are cool, melt 200 grams of milk chocolate over a pan of simmering water and cover half of each cookie with the chocolate, setting on a cooling rack covered in parchment paper to set.