Monday, 10 March 2014

Cherry Shortbread Biscuits

These are relatively plain little shortbread-like biscuits, but they are absolutely delicious and incredibly easy to make.

The biscuits are simply decorated with half a glacé cherry impressed into the centre of each biscuit prior to baking. You can of course use natural un-dyed glace cherries, but these madly pink coloured ones seem to add an extra childish frivolity to the finished biscuits which I find particularly appealing and which reminds me of when I was a child, squabbling with my brother over who would get the cherries that were used to decorate the iced buns that my grandmother only ever made for special occasions.
 
Because this recipe is so straightforward, it is a great one to get the children to help with – I know that my three love any opportunity to cook and bake and I think that if you can learn to tolerate the mess that they inevitably always seem to make, it is great to let them assist in making the foods and meals that they eat. I do think it is interesting, that their favourite things to make seem to be chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake! Anything that includes chocolate seems to be a sure-fire winner in our house.
 
These biscuits don’t contain chocolate, but they are another firm favourite and I make them regularly to satisfy the hungry vultures, AKA children in my house. I’m not going to suggest that I only ever eat home-baked biscuits, because that wouldn’t be true; there are quite a few mass-produced biscuits that I am rather partial to and which I buy from time-to-time, but I do love making my own and mostly I think that the taste is far superior.
These biscuits keep incredibly well if stored in an air-tight container or biscuit tin after they have cooled. As with most of the biscuits I regularly make, I think that these ones are lovely with a cup of tea, but I have also been known to serve them alongside ice-cream as I think the short texture coupled with the bright pink of the slightly chewy glacé cherry perfectly complements the cool creaminess of the ice-cream!
 

Ingredients:

115g butter, softened140g caster sugar
2 large egg yolks, separated
300g self-raising flour
To finish:
2 large egg whites, gently beaten
40g caster sugar
15-18 glacé cherries, halved
 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
2. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks together until light and fluffy. Work the flour into the creamed mixture using a wooden spoon to create a dough.
3. Take walnut sized pieces of the dough and roll gently in your hands to form little balls. Place each little ball on the parchment lined trays, leaving at least 4-5cms between each to allow for spreading while baking. Flatten each ball slightly.
To finish:
4. Brush each flattened biscuit with a little of the lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar. Press half a glacé cherry (cut side down) into the centre of each biscuit.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire-rack to finish cooling completely.

Makes approximately 30 biscuits.