Monday, May 23

Cranberry nougat shortbread


I'm a sucker for shortbread, particularly the cheap, super sweet, shop bought stuff with sugar on top that show sup everywhere around christmas. I love it. I can eat it by the packet and because of this I never buy it. I know if I were to buy it I would eat it all.

To fulfil my craving for shortbread I decided to make my own. These are not quite like the shop version, which might be a good thing. I'm not sure.

The original recipe claims you can use rice flour, corn flour, or potato starch as the additional starch. I used corn flour but I think I would have preferred to use something else as I'm not much of a fan of the texture of cornflour. Rice flour apparently gives the biscuits more crunch, which I would have enjoyed.


As far as the actual shortness of the biscuit is concerned this are definitely spot on. They're super flake-y, and if you made them without nougat they would just fall apart in your mouth. I like the crunch the nougat and nuts brings but everyone is different.

This recipe calls for super soft butter, I softened mine in the microwave as it's freezing at the moment and I doubted that it would soften at room temperature. Apparently a tiny amount of melting isn't a problem but don't over do it!

Cranberry nougat shortbread

Adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt & Chad Robertson
Makes about 36 biscuits

  • 225g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) very soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 255g (1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoons) corn, rice, or potato flour
  • 200g (7oz) soft cranberry nougat
  • 70g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 55g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar, extra

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F), grease a line a 15cm by 25cm (6" by 10") baking tin.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and chosen starch. Remove 1/4 of a cup and place in a small bowl with the nougat.

Rub the nougat and flour together with your hands until lumps to size of peas form. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate mixing bowl. The butter should be very soft, about the consistency of mayonnaise or whipped cream. Add the salt and mix well with a wooden spoon so that the salt dissolved completely. Add first lot of sugar to the butter and mi until just combined, then add the flour and mix until a smooth dough forms. Finally, add the nougat pieces and mix until just combined.

Pat the dough evenly into the prepared baking dish. The dough should be no more than 1.5cm (2/3") thick. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. The middle of the shortbread should remain fairly light. Let cool on a rack until warm to touch.

Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the shortbread, tilting the dish so that the sugar fully and evenly coats the top. Tip out any excess sugar. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the short bread into rectangular fingers about 1cm (1/2") wide and 5cm (2") long. It is best to cut the shortbread while it is still warm. Cool completely before removing from the baking dish,

The first biscuits may be difficult to remove but the remainder should come out easily. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, May 10

Fudgy brownies


Daylight savings is the bane of my existence sometimes. I really, really want to photograph what I make, talk a walk round the lake, feed the ducks, and generally enjoy the sunshine but I can't because as I drive home everyday the sun is rapidly sinking behind the horizon and often by the time I get out of the car it's completely gone.

As I'm by no means an early riser the entire point of daylight savings is lost on me. When I leave for work, daylight savings for not, it's light anyway. I would much rather it were light(ish) when I returned home. Still, no point whining as someone out there probably benefits from it and even if I don't at least I have a window at work. Better windows then I have at home, in fact. I wish I could take my photos there but that would be really, really weird.


So daylight savings makes it does make it hard to get things that require light done. And as I don't own any lighting equipment and can hardly justify buying any it means so many things I make neve g et photographed.

Anyway no point whining because, as you can probably see, there's brownies to be had. Tasty, tasty, fudgy chocolate brownies. Yum. It might be cold and dark but it's totally okay.

Fudgy brownies

(From The art and soul of baking by Cindy Mushet)
Makes one 20cm (8") brownie

115g (4 oz) unsalted butter
115g (4 oz) bitter-sweet chocolate
55g (2 oz) unsweetenedchocolate
200g (1 cup) sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
70g (2 1/2 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
105g (3 3/4 oz) chocolate chips or chunks
55g (2 oz) macadamia nuts


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20cm (8") cake pan with baking paper across the bottom and up two of the sides, then lightly coat with non-stick spray

Bring 5cm (2") of water to the boil in a saucepan. Place the butter, bitter-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over the water. Turn off the heat and stir the chocolate until it is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well to incorporate. Whisk in the salt and flour. Stir until the batter turns from dull and broken to smooth and shiny. Whisk in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake for
35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

When the brownie is cool, run a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Grasp the edges of the baking paper and gently pull upward. Set the brownies on a cutting board and slice into 16 even pieces, then serve or store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.