Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Clotted Cream Shortbread

Clotted cream is one of those really naughty foods which are so lovely to eat every now and again as a special indulgent treat. I love its rich, almost buttery taste and always feel so decadent when I eat it.
 
If truth be told, I mostly use clotted cream as an accompaniment in desserts… I use it in place of ice-cream, custard or whipped cream to partner warm apple pies, rhubarb tarts etc. I also love it on freshly baked scones with some homemade raspberry jam.
 
Reading about the origins of clotted cream, I learnt that in the past it was regularly used in place of butter in baked goods. This intrigued me.
 
As is very apparent from many of my posts, I have an enduring love affair with butter; I really can’t see myself and butter ever falling out of love - but I have to admit, I was hugely attracted to the idea of using clotted cream instead of butter in baking. And, yes… I gave in to temptation and recently made a clotted cream cake which was absolutely fabulous! I almost felt like I was cheating on my beloved butter, but the taste and texture of the cake was divine. I had taken a step into the unknown and there was no going back. I felt that there was room in my life for both butter AND clotted cream! I wasn’t going to give either up! Excuse the pun, but I wanted my cake and I wanted to eat it as well!
 
In my research I came across references to clotted cream shortbread but was unable to source any recipes. Emboldened by the heady feelings of blossoming love, I resolved that the lack of recipes would not thwart me. As a starting point I decided to adapt my basic shortbread recipe by replacing half the weight of butter with an equal weight of clotted cream. The biscuits I made were wonderful… there’s nothing more to say. They were delicious! DELICIOUS! I urge you to make them.

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
100g clotted cream
200g plain flour
100g cornflour (or rice flour if a crunchier biscuit is wanted)

Method:

Make the dough:
1. Put the butter and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together using a hand-held electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Slowly work in half the flour using a wooden spoon and then thoroughly mix in the clotted cream followed by the rest of the flour and the cornflour to create a firm dough.
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least half an hour in the fridge.
Bake the biscuits:
4. Preheat oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
5. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a thickness of approximately 5mm with a rolling pin and stamp out individual biscuits using cookie cutters of your own choice (I used a round cookie cutter, approximately 6cm in diameter).
6. Place the biscuits on the prepared trays and bake for 10-13 minutes until pale golden and cooked through.
7. Remove from the oven when baked and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar before removing to the cooling rack, if desired.

Makes 20 biscuits.