Monday 16 November 2015

Coffee and Walnut Shortbread

Officially mid November, and by the time I get hastily home from college these days it's barely daylight, so I'm finding it increasingly difficult to take decent photos with natural light (if any that remains beyond 4 o'clock!) Shortbread seemed like an obvious win win for being quick and simple. Made using a food processor may I add.  

I don't know if added flavourings to the Scottish classic shortbread, is ever really acceptable north of the border. Personally, although I am somewhat reluctant to tamper with a classic, what the heck...if it works then why not  (plus I'm not north of 'said' border luckily!) I love the classic pairing that is the good old coffee and walnut. I love it in cake so I was dying to see if it worked in a biscuit and guess what it does!

If we are being all finicky picky, then technically I'd have to call it mocha because the shortbread soldiers have been dipped in chocolate but I'm not calling it that because honestly, I think coffee and walnut just sounds better.

If they manage to last that long... the coffee piquancy develops and intensifies more with time so hold a few back for the following day for a mega coffee hit, enough to keep you up all night long! (So you might want to avoid having one right before bed, unless you have some dreaded work to do like I did and you need that boost just to keep your eyelids open.)

Enter the Cornflour...
Cornflour you ask?!! Well yes, although sounding dubiuosly excotic for shortbread, you can use this instead of ground rice to give a "nice melt in the mouth texture". A bit less crumbly and 'short' in texture than you might be more used to but it does indeed dissolve more on the tongue which I prefer to Scottish sand in my petticoat tails (or rather soldier bars.)

Coffee  and  Walnut  Shortbread

Makes 12 bars


1 ½ tbsp coffee granules
125g icing sugar
225g plain flour
45g cornflour
225g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the tin

150g milk or plain chocolate
35g chopped walnut pieces


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas 4/  350°F. Grease a rectangular baking tin approximately 11 x 8 inch in size. then line the base with greaseproof parchment. 

In a coffee/nut grinder or pestle and mortar, blitz the coffee granules to a fine powder. Put the coffee powder, icing sugar, flour, and cornflour into a food processor and pulse to combine, then add the butter chopped into small cubes and mix on a slow speed until the mixture comes to a pastry-like dough. Take it out of the processor and, on a floured work surface, knead gently until it just comes together in a large ball, but don't over handle it or else it will become tough when baked.

Press the dough into the prepared tin and make sure it is flat. Mark the surface with the tip of a knife into 12 and then prick the shortbread all over with a fork and bake for about 25 minutes.  It's very easy to overcook shortbread so take them out when they start to turn golden brown around the edges. It will continue to crisp up more in the tin, out of the oven.

Cut the shortbread with a knife, following the markings that you made as a guide, then leave them to cool in the tin. 

Break the chocolate into small pieces into a deep small bowl, this will make it easier to dip the shortbread into as it will go further up the sides. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts on a medium heat, stirring in between each burst of 30 seconds. 

Dip the shortbread bars about a quarter of the way into the chocolate and then place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof parchment. Sprinkle over the chopped walnut pieces onto the melted chocolate and then leave them to set in the fridge. Store for up to 5 days in an airtight tin. 

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