Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Disaster averted - and some swirly shortbread

Well, I spoke a bit too soon about my laptop being all better. Its new brain was perfectly functional, but its memory had sadly not made the transition with it, and for a few hairy days I seemed to be missing all my worldly documents (and blog photos, though I have to admit that the document situation was bit more hairy). And of course, like the lax idiot I always swore I would never be, I hadn't backed it all up for a few weeks longer than I'd thought. Sigh - won't be repeating that error (I hope). Anyway, Laptop (I feel it should have a name after all this but don't want to rush into anything hasty) has been back to the tecchie hospital for a few days, and has emerged triumphant with its memories restored, and I am one relieved blogger. So apologies for the lack of posting, and also for the lack of commenting on other people's blogs. I will be catching up soon, I hope.

All stacked and ready for rolling

Today's post is about some chocolate swirled shortbread I made for Christmas presents for some family friends. The recipe is from the Green and Black's chocolate book and I liked both the name ('Scrummy Chocolate Swirl Shortbread) and its description as 'clumsy and rustic'. Shortbread makes good presents as it's pretty robust, and it bypasses most allergies and dislikes. For these ones you split the mixture and chocolatify one half. Then you stack them, scatter chocolate over the top, and roll the whole lot up. The biscuits are cut from the big fat rolled up log and so they're nice and sturdy and eminently gift-packable. I presented them in stacks in little party bags tied with red ribbon and they looked very festive. I can't pretend that there isn't a lot of butter in these rustic eye-pleasers but for a treat they were very good. The recipe notes state that they were actually made originally for a vegan friend using vegan margarine so I will tag them as vegan as well.

Green and Black's Scrummy Chocolate Swirl Shortbread
Makes 14

Shortbread 1:
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter or vegan margarine

Shortbread 2:
125g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter or vegan margarine
100g dark chocolate, minimum 60 per cent cocoa solids, or milk chocolate, preferably 34 per cent cocoa solids, chopped into pieces [I used all dark]

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2/300 F

To make the first shortbread sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture combines. Knead lightly, then place the dough in the fridge for 30 mins before rolling out.

Follow the same step for the second shortbread, but include the cocoa with the flour

Roll out both doughs on a lightly floured surface into equal-sized rectangles about 1cm thick. Place the plain shortbread on a sheet of greaseproof paper, place the chocolate shortbread on top of the plain one and then put the bigger pieces of chocolate onto the middle of the shortbread and scatter the smaller shards over the rest of the surface.

Carefully roll the shortbread like a Swiss roll, as tightly as possible, using the greaseproof paper to support it. Mine crumbled a bit but you can squidge it back together and it all just makes for more rusticity. Once rolled, pinch both ends together to prevent the chocolate from falling out, then using both hands, squeeze it until it is 22cm long.

Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 1cm slices. Lay well spaced on to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 25 mins or until the plain shortbread has darkened slightly to a light golden colour. Cool on a wire rack.


Johanna said...

Oh dear, poor old laptop! We are having some technical difficulties of our own with the internet down at home - although I think it is the modem rather than the laptop - we are at the stage where we think we might need the PC Doctor!

Those chocolate swirl shortbreads look very eatable and I imagine would be very welcome presents!

Lysy said...

Thank you for the sympathies :) I sincerely hope you don't have to go through the same thing - fingers crossed for the PC doctor!