Allow me to share a secret with you. It's not a massive secret, just something that you probably don't know.
It was early in 2004, a leap year you may note, and having dated Mr E for several months I knew he was 'the one'! A few weeks earlier I'd enjoyed a few 'loveheart' sweets, you know the ones with the cute little messages on them. Anyway I noticed that some of the phrases had been updated from how I recalled them as a child. Now there were phrases like 'Marry Me', and 'Say Yes'! My mind started to work and a few weeks later on, 29th February, a leap year day, with the help of a few hand selected 'Lovehearts' I plucked up the courage and popped the question to him! The rest, as they say, is history! ?
Anyway, in deciding which recipes to share running up to Valentine's Day, Mr E came up with the idea of some simple biscuits with writing on them, 'Loveheart' style. What a great idea. Not only did it hark back to those lovely little sweets and the progression in our relationship, but it also prompted me to share a biscuit recipe, something which is a little lacking here on Only Crumbs Remain.
Wanting to keep things simple, we went with a shortbread biscuit recipe. Buttery, short, crumbly and undoubtedly classic. I have an awful lot of fondness for shortbread, whether they're presented as a round, finger or petticoat tail they're a welcome treat with an afternoon pot of tea! And although shop bought ones are pretty good, you definitely can't beat a homemade batch.
This particular shortbread recipe is made with the classic 1-2-3 ratio, one of sugar, two of butter and three of flour (including the cornflour which brings an extra lightness to the bake). It also includes some lemon zest, which punctuates the buttery richness beautifully. And although I've decorated them making them suitable for a Valentine Day gift, these biscuits would be just as delicious undecorated too.
Of course, though, a plain shortbread biscuit wouldn't be as much fun as ones decorated with words or short phrases. Think of 'I Love You', 'Love Bug', and 'Cutie', but of course you could use something far more specific or personal.
Normally speaking icing like this is coloured with pastes which can be bought from supermarkets and cake product suppliers. However the reds and pinks supplied by our local supermarket contained animal products and therefore definitely weren't suitable for our vegetarian home. So having gone home with our weekly shop I started to think about popping out to the cake decorating suppliers, but whilst putting the shopping away the raspberry jam sat in the fridge caught my eye. I wondered if I could use jam in my icing. The principal had worked in our Cherry & Almond Cupcakes a few days previous, so why not in a royal icing?! Happily the seedless raspberry jam worked a treat. By using a little more jam in one mixture than the other it allowed me to create two different shades of pink which undoubtedly brought more interest to our Loveheart Styled Shortbread Biscuits, and happily kept them vegetarian friendly.
So, let's get to it and bake 'Loveheart' styled Shortbread Biscuits!
would make a lovely gift for that special someone on Valentine's Day!
Hands on time: 30 mins Cook time: 20 mins Yield: 5
Plain Round Biscuit Cutter, ours measured 78mm diameter
2 Icing Bags
Piping Nozzle, suitable for writing
For the Shortbread Biscuits
- 110g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 55g Caster Sugar, (we used golden caster sugar)
- 1 Lemon, Zest of, finely grated
- 110g Plain Flour
- 55g Cornflour
- Pinch of Salt
For the Icing
- 50g + 50g Royal Icing Sugar
- 1-2 tsp Seeedless Raspberry Jam
For the Decoration
- Mini Sugar Blossom Flowers (we used these from Sainsburys)
a) Use the best quality butter you can afford, as shortbreads contain a high percentage of butter it's worthwhile buying a good tasting one. b) Increase the batch size by using the 1-2-3 ratio (1 of sugar, 2 of butter, 3 of flour including the cornflour) c) Consider making the shortbread biscuits larger to hold more writing, though these will take longer to cook, perhaps around 30 - 35 minutes. Keep an eye on them whilst they bake. d) If planning to stack the biscuits and tie with a ribbon, ensure the icing is completely set first.