I love shortbread. Such a simple biscuit, just letting the butter, and sugar do its thing. The downside is that its often poorly done. It’s not as bad as it once was in this country in this regard. It used to be that if you got a shortbread, or god forbid a caramel slice (millionaires shortbread), from a cafe or coffee shop it would be a disaster. The shortbread would be some kind of flavourless, soft (not in a good way) mess of a biscuit. No deliciously buttery crumbs.
Thankfully, we have upped our game. I’m not sure if its the arrival of coffee shop chains that have forced people, or something else. But thankfully it is possible to get half decent shortbread much more widely now.
Anyway, I digress.
The key with shortbread, as you may imagine, is quality ingredients. We are making a biscuit with 3 of them (4 if you count salt), so they are all going to have to hold their own (the flour less so). For this reason, I prefer a golden caster sugar - white caster sugar will work just fine, but thats just my preference. Butter is where you don’t want to scrimp. If you can get hold of some decent, full of flavour, proper butter then your shortbread will be all the better for it.
I choose to use unsalted butter and add the salt myself, but thats mostly habit. Recipes of old would recommend you using unsalted butter mostly because salted butter was never really very good (because the salt would mask the flavour some what, you might get lower quality or even ropey butter when buying it salted), which is thankfully not the case today, so again, feel free to take the easier option of salted butter. Another reason I use unsalted is because if I have decent salted butter in the house, I normally prefer to save it just to eat it on toast.
Ok, all this said, I’m going to be slightly contradictory and say for this recipe, the above isn’t entirely true. You could make this base shortbread recipe on its own, in which case you should make sure you try to use the best ingredients possible. However, for this recipe we are going to add an entire chocolate orange to our biscuits. Again, as you might imagine, the flavours from that are going to dominate here. The subtlety of a decent butter will be lost when its slammed together with chocolate orange! Basically this means you can use your standard supermarket brand butter and white caster sugar and you will be pushed to tell the difference with all that chocolate and orange oil in the mix.
These are a delicious and fun biscuit, super quick to make and are a nice festive gift or snack to offer around the Christmas period (or whenever, we just traditionally eat chocolate orange at Christmas)
- 12 biscuits
- 5 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 55 grams golden caster sugar
- 115 grams unsalted butter
- 170 grams plain flour
- 1 Terrys Chocolate orange
- Ideally in a stand mixer, but by hand if you are feeling strong, cream the butter and sugar. This will take a few minutes in a stand mixer. It should turn a lighter colour and be a noticeably different consistency.
- Split the chocolate orange into segments. Reserve 12 segments for the biscuits, the rest of them can be roughly chopped
- Add a pinch of salt and the chopped chocolate orange to the mixer and mix on a low speed until combined and mixed through (if you mix too long, the chocolate will get crushed)
- Add the flour, and mix again on a low speed until only just combined, be careful not to over mix.
- Shape the dough into either a cuboid or cylinder (I prefer cuboid, so its easy to cut rectangular biscuits - note we will put chocolate orange slices on top of the biscuits so make sure the rectangular shape is big enough to handle the slice) and wrap in cling film (plastic wrap). At this point I normally wrap the dough, and gently tap it on a work surface to square of the sides of the dough. Put it in the fridge and let it set for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine).
- Remove from the fridge, un-wrap and slice it into individual biscuits about 2cm thick (you are looking to get 12 biscuits out of your bar of dough)
- Place the biscuits on a tray lined with baking parchment and bake at 140C Fan oven (160C non-fan) for 30 minutes
- With 5 minutes left on the baking time, take them out of the oven and gently lay a Terrys chocolate orange segment on top of each one, and return the biscuits to the oven (this final 5 minutes will give them a chance to melt enough to attach to the biscuits, but still keep their shape)
- Once cooking is finished, remove and leave to cool - moving to a cooling rack after 10 minutes
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