What better than making something which requires softened butter in the middle of a cold winter, when butter seems to get firmer when you take it out of the fridge. Still, don't let that deter you, especially as there IS nothing better than having a biccie with a cuppa. I thought it would be 'fun' to make chocolate shortbread so you can hit spots with one treat, those being the need for something sweet and the need for something chocolatey (he says like swapping out a bit of flour to cocoa is fun, but you know what, I think it is). With this in mind I thought it's a must to sprinkle just a little salt over the top along with a small small measure of sugar, just so that you get that slightly salty hint when you take a bite into the meltingly soft yet firm biscuit.
Hands-on Time 15 minutes plus chilling
Baking Time 30 minutes
210g Unsalted butter plus extra for greasing (softened)
1/4 tsp plus a pinch Fine salt
100g plus 1 tbsp Caster sugar
225g Plain flour
75g Cocoa powder
20cm x 20cm Square cake tin
Cut a piece of baking parchment that can line the bottom and sides of the tin. I find it’s best to turn the tin upside down and shape the paper around the base, so it then fits the tin nicely when you go to line it.
Grease the insides of the tin with some butter and line with the parchment.
Add 210 grams of butter to a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until light and smooth.
Add the salt and 100 grams of sugar and beat again.
Add the flour and cocoa powder.
This time instead of beating the mixture, fold it into the buttercream. The aim here is to combine the flour but not overwork the dough. Scrape the dough around the sides of the bowl to clean them, and make sure you don’t leave any bits at the bottom either.
Transfer into the lined tin. I find it’s best to break up the dough if it’s lumped together so you can distribute it evenly without touching it too much.
Press the dough into the edges of the tin and flatten so it’s nice and even. Try not to handle the dough too much.
Pop the tin into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
In the meantime preheat your oven to 170°C/150°C(Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Pop the tin into the oven onto a middle shelf for 30 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and immediately cut up the shortbread in the tin so you have nice sharp lines. Avoid scratching your tin though!
Sprinkle a pinch of salt along with 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top.
Leave to sit in the tin at room temperature until cooled. At this point the shortbread should have hardened.