The colour magnolia that is, the mainstay of any defence housing. Not quite cream, none of the commitment of a stark white; it was neutral and bland.
The neutral colour spectrum is so similar to shortbread. Everybody likes shortbread. But some of them are so bland, or so-so. However, strike the perfect balance of flavour, moisture and texture, and you have the beginnings of a damn good time.
Magnolia? Prepare for a three-hour lecture given by my mother on her hate for magnolia. Nobody likes shit shortbread.
I was 8 when I first encountered my mum making shortbread – it had happened before I’m sure of it. But this is the memory we are all stuck with, kay? The whole process just blew my mind, making it all with your hands, and then pressing it into a thin tray (it wasn’t going to rise up like my fairy cakes? Madness). I was enchanted, it’s the only word for it. Even today when I stand making the same recipe (with some minor tweaks) I feel a sense of childhood wonder and amazement at this whole baking situation. It’s wonderful mad science.
I made these for The Sweet Swap, an online event for Australian food & lifestyle bloggers which results in packages of sweets arriving on our doorsteps. Each blogger is matched with three other bloggers and will mail off parcels of home-made lollies to their matches. In return you receive three packages of home-made lollies from different bloggers.
Brown Sugar Shortbread – Adapted from Not Quite Nigella and My Mum.
Sugar me up, with ingredients –
260 grams butter, room temperature plus a tiny amount of butter for very lightly greasing the tin
125 grams dark brown sugar (yuuuummm molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
250 grams plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour
This is how we do it.
Grease a pan of your desired size, preferably with a removable base. I used a long rectangular tart tin and made three about 1.5 cm deep.
Whip the butter, sugar and vanilla paste until creamy, and a slightly paler colour than you began with.
Sift the two flours together.
Take away the butter mix from all machinery and fold in the flours either by hand (my method) or with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overmix. Mix until the dough is just combined, then mix for a further minute. It should be a dough, but on the side of not dough.
Pat the dough into your greased pan, smooth out and mark with a knife – I marked out the squares I would be needing.
Stick in the freezer whilst your oven pre heats to 160’c.
Bake for 30 minutes until the beautiful scent begins to fill your kitchen.
Remove and remark with a knife if necessary, then allow to cool completely before you even think about touching it again.
Lavender Caramel – adapted from Cherry Tea Cakes
355ml heavy cream 38% fat
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
170 grams lightly salted butter
395 grams sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Taking Care of Business
Prepare a large baking sheet with slightly greased baking paper, I wet a paper towel with olive oil and lightly greased the baking paper.
Combine all the ingredients except the salt in a deep saucepan; deeper than you first think. Cook over medium heat, swishing the pan to avoid hot spots.
When the mixture reads 115’c immediately remove from heat, stir in the salt, and pour into the prepared baking pan. Cool the mixture completely until it is firm, at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Cut into squares slightly smaller than the shortbread squares.
Dark Chocolate coating
Ugh you really have to temper the chocolate for them to last longer than a day without blooming. They still taste good but damn girl temper that chocolate! I fear for my swapees that their chocolate would have been heat affected.
follow the instructions on Cherry Tea Cakes for the chocolate coating.
I sent these to :
Em from Hold the Peas
My three treats were from:
Ed at Ya Ya’s Yum Yum’s; who sent some marshmallows. I really liked the bites I had of the lemon sherbet – marshmallow always gives me such a headache though, my boyfriend devoured them!
Tina at Bite Me Show Me; Tina sent some delightful and lower sugar treats in the form of Banana and Oat bars.
My other sweet appears to be missing hah. I wonder who it was from?