I’ve only recently been educated in the time-honored ratio of traditional shortbread: one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. This recipe deviates a little from those strict proportions, but the result is delicious, crisp, crumbly and rich. All I can say is that it was a very, very good thing that most of these were destined for Jorn’s Opa’s birthday present. And if I can restrain myself for long enough the next time I bake them, I’m convinced they’d make the perfect base for a chocolate cheesecake.
Essentially, this is Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Granny Boyd’s Biscuits, to which I’ve added orange zest and a touch of vanilla. If you’d like the chocolate flavour stronger, almost verging on bittersweet, remove a teaspoon or more of the flour and replace with an equal quantity of cocoa powder.
Chocolate orange shortbread biscuits
125 g castor sugar
250 g lightly salted butter
finely grated rind of two oranges
300 g self-raising flour
30 g cocoa powder
¼ tspn ground vanilla pod
Preheat the oven to 170ºC
Cream sugar, butter and orange zest together until pale and soft. Sieve the cocoa powder, flour and vanilla together, add to the butter mixture, and stir gently until combined. Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into walnut-sized balls. Place, generously spaced, onto baking trays and press each with the back of a fork to flatten. There is enough dough to make at least 35.
Place the baking trays in the preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 150ºC, and continue baking for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the trays from the oven; the biscuits will appear slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Transfer to wire racks.