Treat your sweet this season of love to an edible gift, like our White Chocolate and Vanilla Valentine’s Day heart-shaped shortbread. We’re teaming up with Nielsen-Massey on this recipe to celebrate the season of love with an edible gift that’s has lots of heart, is a cinch to make and is totally adaptable to tailor to your own tastes. Note: this is a paid post in partnership with Nielsen-Massey…
Nielsen-Massey has been producing the World’s finest Gourmet Vanilla Extract (and many other fabulous flavour extracts) for over a century, and is key for so many baking adventures in the kitchen. Family-run and sustainably sourcing their ingredients, Nielsen-Massey Gourmet Vanilla Extract and flavour pastes use premium, hand-selected beans and a cold extraction process to preserve the 300+ flavour compounds found within. Why? This ensures a full, sweet and creamy profile as well as preserving quality and flavour –– no other company has the same method. Find more recipes, inspiration, information and your local stockist(s) at Nielsenmassey.com.
Our recipe celebrates vanilla as the key flavour in the shortbread biscuits, but then dunked in white chocolate and vanilla and topped with a variety of toppings, you can make this your own! The combination of vanilla and white chocolate is particularly perfect, we think, but feel free to interpret this recipe as you like.
A note on the process: there are a couple of steps in this recipe for chilling down the mixture in the freezer, so ensure a drawer has ample space. Also, in some other shortbread recipes ‘creaming’ the sugar and butter together is encouraged, however we’ve always found that added too much air and resulting in ‘spreading’ in the oven, so for best practice we prefer to rub the butter into the dry ingredients.
White Chocolate & Vanilla Valentine’s Heart Biscuits
- 2 tsp Nielsen-Massey Gourmet Vanilla Extract
- 150g plain flour
- 25g cornflour
- 130g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large free-range egg, yolk only
- 200g White chocolate, melted
- First, combine the flour, cornflour and sugar in a mixing bowl and add the cubed butter. Working with your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until entirely combined and the cubes have become small, pea-sized and dispersed throughout.
- Add the vanilla and egg yolk and combine (note: ‘cutting in’ with a table knife makes light work of this, and less messy!) then turn out the rubble-like dough and knead once or twice just to bring everything together. At this point if it feels too wet add a little flour, if it feels way too dry and not coming together add a tiny bit of water to bring together. Once combined in a disk shape, cover in cling film and store in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden slightly.
- Remove the disc of dough from the freezer, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface, then with a heavy rolling pin roll out to a thickness of around 1/2cm – 3/4 cm even. Using lightly floured heart-shaped cutters, cut your hearts. Re-roll the leftover bits of dough to make the most of it and get as many as you can –– we got about 12 hearts from this mixture.
- Line a small, flat baking sheet or plate with the cling you used before to wrap the raw dough and now place the hearts (spaced a little apart, so they don’t stick together) back in the freezer (uncovered) for about 15 minutes while your oven heats to 170ºC.
- When the oven is at temperature, line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a silpat sheet and place the hearts in rows spaced a little apart and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes, checking towards the last few minutes for browning –– you don’t want to biscuits to brown, but a lightly golden colour beginning to emerge around the edges is the sign you need to take them out. Allow to cool almost completely on the sheet before attempting to lift up. Note: the biscuits shouldn’t have spread as the cornflour keeps them taught and just enough liquid is added, but if they have slightly reduce the water content of the dough (maybe use a higher quality butter with a lower water content or a smaller egg.
- Allow to cool before dipping in melted white chocolate, shaking off the excess and placing back on the baking sheet –– then, sprinkle with some optional toppings: whatever you like, from praline powder and freeze-dried berries to chopped pistachios and rose petals or even just classic sprinkles. Make it your own, and make it from the heart!