When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.

What’s your favourite biscuit? I dabbled with Hobnobs for a while, but they seem a little smug to me, and the Tunnocks Teacake will always have a special place in my heart (although – is it a biscuit or, like the Jaffa, actually a cake? In which case, I allow myself two favourites. That’s not cheating, that’s science) – but I will always come back to the humble bourbon. A classic. And chocolate, as all biscuits will be, when I am in charge.

So, for Valentine’s day this year (oh as if I need an excuse to bake), I decided to have a go at baking my own bourbon biscuits – a little bit inspired by this giant Bourbon my boyfriend brought me home from the shops one day.

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A biscuit the size of my face. The way to my heart.

I got the ingredients from the Good Housekeeping website – seduced by the claim that all recipes are triple tested! – but as Valentine’s Day is a time of gooey love and hearts and smushy stuff, I decided to break out the old heartshape cookie cutters and personalise them a bit.

It’s a really simple recipe, and would make about 15-20 traditionally sized/shaped biscuits. As I made greedy giant sized over stuffed large biscuits, along with a few smaller ones, I got around 10-12 biscuits, and ran out of icing for the last few. No matter. An un-iced Bourbon is still a chocolate biscuit, and therefore not to be sniffed at.

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I’m a softy at heart.

You will need

For the biscuit:

250g (9oz) plain flour, plus extra to dust

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes

125g (4oz) caster sugar

2tbsp golden syrup

50g (2oz) cocoa powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

3tbsp milk

For the filling

75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

125g (4oz) icing sugar

15g (½oz) cocoa powder

1. Put all the biscuit ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough on to a work surface and bring together. If you don’t have a food processor, I think this biscuit is very similar to a shortbread – so, add the diced butter to the sieved flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda, and then rub together until you get a crumb-like mixture. Then add in the sugar, golden syrup and milk and mix in till fully incorporated. Then bring together into a dough as above

2. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper, to about 5mm thickness. Which makes some big-ass bourbon biscuits, so make it a bit thinner if you have a more delicate appetite/are more of a lady than me. Then use your cookie cutter to cut out biscuits to whatever shape you desire. Remember, the biscuits will be sandwiched together, so you need an even number. I had to re-roll out my dough a couple of times to make sure I got the most out of it. Any more than that, I think the dough will get too stick and warm, so try and fit your cookie shapes as close together as possible.

3. Place in the fridge and chill for 30min.

4. Make a cup of tea, play with the cat.

5. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4.

6. Place the biscuits on lined baking trays and bake for 20-25min, or until you realise that as you have made the biscuits different sizes, the smaller hearts are beginning to look a little burnt crispy.

7. Leave to cool completely.

8. To make the filling, put the butter into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined. This takes a good lot of effort, as it’s really thick icing (don’t be tempted to add any liquid, it’s meant to be like that). I did it by hand and started to regret it as my biceps began to ache – so if you have a hand mixer, now would be the time to use it.

9. Sandwich the cooled biscuits together with the chocolate filling, using a piping bag if you want a neater finish. Or, like me, your fingers. That icing really is thick.

10. Repeat step 4, with added biscuits.

Today’s quote is from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

 

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