Sunday, 12 February 2012

Tea Time Treats - Almond and Cranberry Shortbread with Rose Frosting

I don't do romance. It's not just the cynicism of increasing age - Hubs has never made a romantic gesture, or given a gift just for the sake of romance and we have never taken any notice of Valentine's Day. The last time I got excited about Valentine's Day was as a teenager at an all-girl's school - and I was never the one getting the anonymous cards! So, to bake a Tea Time Treat with the theme of Romance brings out all the clichés of what others say is romantic - hearts and roses and pink colouring!

Tea Time Treats is a Monthly Baking Challenge run jointly by Kate at What Kate Baked and Karen at Lavender and Lovage. This month's theme of romance has been chosen by Kate. My contribution is these heart-shaped Almond and Cranberry Shortbreads with Rose Flavoured Frosting.

These biscuits are not true shortbreads, as the dough contains an egg yolk, but I was looking for a recipe which could be rolled and cut out, and wouldn't spread during cooking. The resulting recipe was an amalgamation of several recipes, as the basic recipe I found for almond shortbread had no additons and didn't seem sweet enough. I also only had enough icing sugar for the frosting, not to add to the shortbread dough as well. As I don't have a large food processor, the method had to be adapted a little too.


300g plain flour
100g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
225g slightly salted butter, cubed, a little above fridge temperature
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
50g dried cranberries, chopped

Frosting - 75g icing sugar
1 teaspoon liquid glucose
1 teaspoon rose water
red food colouring paste


Put the flour, sugar and butter into a bowl and rub in the butter as if making pastry. Stir in the almonds, cranberries and two extracts. Mix in the egg yolk with a table knife, then use hands to gather the dough into a ball and knead lightly until smooth.

Roll out to about 1cm thick, cut out the desired shapes. Knead trimmings together and re-roll. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to colour.

Cool, then mix the icing sugar, glucose and rosewater with enough water to make a thick paste. Add enough food colouring to give the colour you prefer. Spoon into a strong plastic bag - a small freezer bag is ideal - then snip off the corner of the bag and drizzle a random pattern over the biscuits. Allow to dry before storing in an airtight tin or box.

The tip about adding glucose to water icing comes from Dan Lepard's book, Short and Sweet - he says it helps the icing to set well and keeps it glossy. He adds it at the rate of 25g to 225g icing sugar.

These biscuits have a good shortbread texture, and the cranberries cut through the sweetness well. I don't usually chop cranberries into smaller pieces, but it was the right thing to do for these biscuits. The rose flavour in the frosting was just a subtle hint of flavour which is what I wanted - I find the flowery flavours can easily overwhelm other things. I should have added more colour to the frosting - it looked dark enough in the bowl, but barely pink once it was drizzled onto the biscuits.


Alicia Foodycat said...

I like the very subtle pink tint!

Unknown said...

Well for a non romantic these look very loveable! I really like the idea of adding the almond to the flour. I can imagine these make an extraordinary shortbread. Delicious and I will be making these this week. X

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Love the drizzled rose frosting!

Caroline said...

I do love shortbread - more than I should I think! I know what you mean about cutting up dried cranberries - I don't tend to for cakes and muffins etc, but anything where the size of the cranberry will make it difficult to cut the dough makes it necessary - generally biscuits.

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Thank you so much for entering Tea Time Treats with such delectable biscuits! I too love the addition of the rose drizzle on top

celia said...

Ok, so you don't do romantic, but these cookies are certainly very lovely, Suelle! :)

Choclette said...

Well this is a very odd choice for a non romantic! But they look splendid Suelle and I think I shall be bookmarking the recipe. If only I could master the art of drizzling chocolate, that is what I would do.

Suelle said...

Celia, Choclette - I did say I was guided by other people's notion of romantic! LOL!

MissCakeBaker said...

These are so pretty!