I’m now at that age where most of my best friends have kids. Which is great, as I can play Aunty Jess for the day, bake delicious treats, get them all excited by singing and dancing with them… and then hand them back.
Old of my oldest friends from school, Emma visited today with her children, Lola and Vinnie, so I decided to whip up some white chocolate and raspberry shortbread biscuits. Any excuse to potter for an hour or so in the kitchen. They went down a storm and luckily, I still have a few left over to squirrel away for a rainy day (yeah right, who am I kidding, as if they’ll make it past 5pm this evening).
My youngest visitor, three-year-old Vinnie, was particularly impressed with his heart-shaped treats informing me that they “taste like true love”. What a little heart breaker.
Anyway, onto the baking… these biscuits are so quick and simple to make, you could practically do it with your eyes closed.
55g butter, softened
30g caster sugar
85g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
¼ tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
To sandwich hearts together
40g white chocolate chopped
2 to 3 tbsp raspberry jam (preferably seedless)
Icing sugar, for dusting
1.) Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt together with whisk. Add the flour, stirring in with a wooden spoon, then push the dough together with your hands. If you have time, or the dough is very soft, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2.) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work top, using a floured rolling pin, until approx 3mm thick. Cut out 20 heart shapes (I used a 5cm cookie cutter), re-rolling the scraps as you cut. Transfer the dough hearts to a lightly buttered baking tray. Pop into the freezer for 10 minutes or up to an hour in the fridge. (Chilling the dough before cooking will help keep the shortbread’s shape while in the oven)
3.) Preheat your oven to 160 fan/ 180 C/350 F/ Gas 4. Bake the shortbread until slightly golden – this will take between 8-12 minutes depending on your oven.
4.) Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays (this will make them easier to pick off) and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5.) Break the white chocolate into chunks and melt in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn’t sit in the water.
6.) Leave the chocolate to cool and thicken while you melt the jam in the saucepan until runny.
7.) Separate your shortbread hearts into two batches, each containing 10 hearts. Spread the chocolate over the first 10 shortbread hearts.
8.) Neatly spoon a small dollop of jam into the centre of the white chocolate and gently place one of the remaining 10 hearts on top, as a lid. Sandwich together with your fingers and place to one side to set.
9.) Leave to set for 30 mins, or stick in the fridge for a quicker result.
10) Transfer to an airtight container until your guests arrive.