For me, the enjoyment of choosing my favourite teacup, sitting down to a fragrant cup of tea, and relaxing for a few precious minutes in my afternoon is non-negotiable without an accompanying biscuit. This is my favourite recipe for shortbread, and is crucially dependent on two ingredients: high-quality butter and cocoa powder. They can be cut into any shape but I love rounds for the chocolate shortbread, and the fun of drizzling melted chocolate on afterwards.
Chocolate Shortbread Recipe
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus 1 hour chilling
Baking time: 15 minutes
Makes: 30 cookies
230g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp. salt flakes (5g)
160g caster sugar
260g plain flour
80g good-quality cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. (2g) baking powder
100g dark (70%) chocolate
Place butter, salt and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Cream on medium-high speed for 5-6 minutes, or until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sieve together flour, cocoa and baking powder. On low speed, add dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, and mix until a dough is starting to form – take care not to over-mix the dough at this point. Knead briefly by hand and form into a large, flat disc. Wrap dough in clingwrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 170C (150C fan-forced) and line a large oven tray with baking paper. Rest shortbread dough on the bench for 10 minutes and then roll out to 4mm thick, dusting the bench with flour if it begins to stick. Cut discs of dough with a 5cm round cutter, and place onto the lined tray.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to firm up at the edges. Cool on a wire rack and set aside.
Melt chocolate in a microwave on short bursts, or over a double boiler. Using a spoon or small piping bag, drizzle chocolate over the cooled shortbread and allow to set for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
NB: for vanilla shortbread (pictured alongside the chocolate), add the scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean to the butter and sugar, and then substitute extra flour for the cocoa powder. Chill dough as above, roll to 4mm thick and cut as 2 x 5cm bars. Bake at 160C for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
The products photographed here are from the Royal Albert 100 Years Teaware Collection available online here.
Royal Albert is a commercial partner of RESCU.