Posts tagged shortbread

Speedy (Health Conscious) Millionaire Shortbread


‘ll start by warning (yes warning) you that this recipe should not be compared to the decadence of the traditional millionaires shortbread. Firstly is the reduciton in indulgence ingredients, mainly butter and sugar, that I love so very much and praise. However, if you have a craving for this dangerous treat, but also want to balance this guilty indulgence with some form – even if tiny – of health awareness then its a good one. That said, it really is a speedy way to make your own version! The traditional version takes time – baking the shortbread base, making the caramel and then applying the chocolate. This, can be done in an hour!

If you do want to make a recommended amendment if time isn’t your’e enemy here, I think this recipe could be equally as good as the real thing just by changing the base for a traditional baked shortbread. Use 50g caster sugar, 125g unsalted butter and 150g plain flour – example recipe here. I personally think the date caramel is far tastier than the normal boiled sugar version! Firstly, its less rich so you can eat more of it…and secondly its natural sugar. Yes, still sugar but its far healthier.

(Based on a recipe by ‘The Plant-Based Londoner’)


  • 90g oats
  • 130g nut of choice (cashew, brazil, almond)
  • 1 tbsp lacuma powder (optional)
  • 6 tbsp of nut butter of choice (try substituting in some coconut oil. Note, it will dominate the flavours)

Caramel & Topping

  • 300g pitted dates
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Start on the base. Pulse the flour, lacuna powder, nuts and nut butter in a food processor until you have a soft dough that holds together. If it needs to be more moist add a little more nut butter. Tip out into a lined baking tray (line with parchment, foil or cling film) big enough so that the mixture is about 1 cm deep. It doesn’t matter what dish you use, just use one that is a suitable size.(20cm x 20xm recommended) Cover and chill in the fridge.
  2. Next, pulse the dates, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla in the food processor. Add a splash of water and keep adding until you get a smooth but thick date caramel.
  3. Spread this caramel evenly over the chilled base and then cover and chill again.
  4. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water until fully melted.
  5. Tip the chocolate over the chilling date layer and smooth out until even and completely covering the caramel.
  6. Cover again and chill until the chocolate has set hard.
  7. Once hard, tip the bar out onto a chopping board and cut into the desired square/rectangle. Please note – the top layer WILL crack where unwanted and not every piece will look perfect, if any. The 3 in the image I have are the only ones that did not misbehave. But the look isn’t everything so cut randomly into chunky morsels. Its more tasty that way.


Rosemary Creme Brule & Pine nut Shortbread


aster is all about lamb. Lamb is all about rosemary. Stay with me here…



aster lunch menu planning for a group of hungry guests isn’t usually that flexible as lamb joints grace the ovens and aga’s of cooks round the UK. Dessert however allows some creativity. I love the flavour of rosemary in sweet dishes especially when you pair it with sweet caramelised apricots (see here for pannacotta), earthy honeyed pine nuts (see here for pine nut tartlets) or almond and sweet nectarine (see here). Its a shocker I’ve not made a rosemary ice cream yet but creme brule is the next best thing. Having wanted to serve this with some caramelised fresh apricots and almond praline, I settled for some pine nut shortbread since the season did not agree with my fruit of choice. Feel free to experiment here, adding more rosemary to your tastes. Its subtle but still infuses nicely into what made a fitting, elegant and light dessert after a joint of garlic studded lamb leg, roasties and spring greens.

Rosemary Creme Brule

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 500ml double cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2 x 10cm lengths of rosemary
  • Soft brown sugar to caramelise
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Prepare 6 creme brule dishes/ramekins (dependant no the size you get around 6 portions- you can use whatever you like as long as its oven proof) and stand them in a deep roasting tray. The tray needs to be deep enough that the ramekins can sit in there and you can fill the tray with water half way up the ramekins.
  2. Lightly bash the rosemary in a pestle and mortar to begin to release the flavoured oils. Then add to a saucepan with the double cream and the vanilla pod.
  3. Scald the cream by bringing it just below boiling point then immediately remove from the heat and leave the rosemary/vanilla to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain and discard the rosemary. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the cream and discard the pod.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a wide bowl.
  5. Carefully stir in the warm cream whisking continuously so that the eggs don’t scramble. Continue to whisk until all is combined.
  6. Sieve the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat on a very gentle heat for about 1 minute until the mixture begins to thicken a little and coats the back of a wooden spoon – careful the heat isn’t high or it will scramble.
  7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.
  8. Fill the tray with boiling water so it rises half way up the side of the ramekin.
  9. Carefully place the tray in the oven and allow to cook for 30minutes until the creams are set with a slight wobble. Leave to cool and then chill until needed.
  10. When ready to serve, scatter a layer of the brown sugar over the top of each cream. Using a blow torch or carefully using a hot grill, heat the top until the sugar beings to caramelise and sets hard. Careful not to burn…its tricky…mine did!
  11. Serve with the shortbread biscuits for dunking if you wish.

Pine Nut Shortbread


  • 175g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  1. Dry fry the pine nuts in a frying pan until golden. Leave to cool.
  2. Combine the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and mix until combined and the mixture in crumbly. Then tip in a handful of the pine nuts and continue to processor the mixture until it forms a dough.
  3. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and combine into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Combine the rest of the pine nuts in a pestle and mortar and bash lightly. Add the 2 tbsp of caster sugar and bash into a ‘pine nut sugar’.
  6. Roll the shortbread and cut out rounds (whatever shape and size you want) the thickness of 1 pound coin and place them onto a lined baking tray.
  7. Continue using up the dough. Scatter the pine nut sugar over the top of the shortbread evenly.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until just beginning to turn pale golden. (Don’t overcook past pale gold).
  9. Cool until ready to serve.

Amaretto Pannacotta, Rose Rhubarb, Pistachio Shortbread


A beautiful, delicious, creamy, soothing, sweet and flavoursome dessert to top off a wonderful Mother’s Day supper. My mother personified in a pleasing dessert. Elegant, beautiful and who doesn’t love a creamy vanilla speckled pannacotta? Obviously with a splash of booze as it was only fitting and with the simplest quirky touch of rose for added originality. And as one of my mums favourite puddings it was always on the menu. With shortbread of course. I think I’d have been hung and gutted if I hadn’t made any if I’m honest. Even if we were having pancakes! You can totally adapt this recipe too adding different liquors and roasting different fruits. Adding different nuts and flavours to your biscuits too. Try frangelico pannacotta, hazelnut shortbread and cinnamon honey roasted figs.


Serves 6

Amaretto Pannacotta

  • 500ml double cream
  • 125ml milk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp amaretto liqueur (or another if preferred, e.g. Frangelico?)
  • 3 leaves/sheets gelatine
  1. Find yourself either 6 pannacotta moulds (This is if you want to turn these out onto a plate to eat. It is up to you. I prefer the less hassle and neater presentation approach to serving these in glasses) or 6 glasses of choice to serve you pannacotta in and place on tray.
  2. Heat the double cream, milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar and infuse the cinnamon.
  3. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and whisk into the heating cream. Add the pod too and bring to just under a simmer.
  4. Remove from the what and leave to infuse for 20 minutes or so.
  5. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water meanwhile.
  6. Sieve or pick out the cinnamon stick and the vanilla pod and discard. Bring the pan back onto the heat and warm through.
  7. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves and then whisk into the warm cream.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a good reliable pouring jug and divide the mixture between the glasses. (TIP: Measure the mixture first and then divide this by 6 so that you end up with 6 even glasses. It is also worth whisking the mixture between pouring so you don’t end up with all the tasty black and precious vanilla seeds at the bottom of the jug!)
  9. Carefully place the tray in the fridge and leave to set. Ideally make these in the morning for use for dinner.
  10. Bring to room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. Turn out any that are in pannacotta moulds. Serve with the warm rhubarb compote on top.

Rose Roasted Rhubarb

  • 500g pink forced Spring Rhubarb
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • ¾ tsp rosewater
  • 1 tbsp rose petals
  • Handful pistachio nuts, crushed
  1. Preheat the oven to about 160°C.
  2. Cut your rhubarb into 2inch chunks on the diagonal.
  3. Place in a baking dish and drizzle with the honey. Add the rosewater and mix.
  4. Cover with foil and roast for about 30 minutes until its soft. remove the foil and return to the oven for about 10 more minutes or so.
  5. Serve warm on top of the chilled pannacotta, scattered with a few rose petals and some crushed pistachio nuts.

Pistachio Shortbread

  • 125g cold, cubed butter
  • 175g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 40g pistachios
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line a baking tray with parchment
  2. In a food processor, combine the butter, flour and 50g of sugar and blend until it begins to clump and form a dough
  3. Next in a pestle and mortar pound the nuts coarsely until you form small pieces.
  4. Add half to the dough and pulse again briefly in the processor to diffuse.
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to bring to a ball of dough.
  6. Halve the dough to make it easier to work with as you can now deal with it in two batches. Roll to the thickness of a pound coin and then use a cutter of choice to make your shortbread before placing on the baking tray.
  7. Combine the remaining pounded nuts with the 10g of sugar and scatter liberally over the biscuits.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn a light golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve: Serve the pannacotta slightly chilled (remove from the fridge for about 5 minute before serving) topped with the warm rhubarb and a side order of buttery shortbread


Chewy Date Slice



However delicious, I was unsatisfied with churning out another generic batch of star-topped, icing-dusted mince pies this weekend. Before you bar-humbug me (as those who know me know I a Christmas LOVER) these have the festive touch of chewy sweet dates, punchy orange zest and warming cinnamon that make a welcome alternative to the mince pie. Especially if, like my glamorous Gran, you are raisin hater. Devour after a cold walk with some warm mulled wine to warn off the teasing sniffles of a brewing cold that threatens to sabotage your Christmas day..

Makes about 12 slices

  • 175g plain flour
  • 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250g dates
  • 1 orange
  • 75g butter
  • 150ml water (maybe a bit more)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g flaked almond
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Start with the shortbread base. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and the cold cubed butter until a dough forms. Alternatively, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you form a dough.
  2. Line a tin (about 25cm x 16cm) with parchment and mold the dough into the tin pressing it down with the back of a spoon. Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the shortbread for about 15-20 minutes until golden but it doesn’t matter if not completely cooked as you will cook it again with the topping. Leave to cool while you make the topping.
  4. Put the dates, cinnamon, 25g of butter, water and the zest of the orange in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool and puree in a food processor. Add a splash more water if too thick.
  5. Combine the flaked almonds, vanilla, sugar and remaining 50g of butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Coat the almonds in the melted butter and leave to cool a little.
  6. Spoon the date puree over the shortbread base and spread out evenly. Scatter over the buttery almonds and bake for about 25-35 minutes until golden.image
  7. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into slices and dusting with icing sugar.



Apricot and Vanilla Pannacotta with Rosemary Shortbread


There’s something about using herbs like thyme and rosemary in sweet desserts which I always think feels really sophisticated. Getting the right balance is essential as an overpowering flavour such as rosemary, while forgivable with lamb, will not be so delicious if overused in a dessert. It goes so well with the sweet, juicy plump apricots here and I created this recipe after being inspired by an apricot bar by a company called Baked. However, this recipe is more suitable for a after dinner dessert!

Serves about 5

Apricot Jam

  • 200g dried apricots
  • 350ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60g honey
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  1. Combine the ingredients in a pan including the vanilla pod once the seeds have been removed.
  2. Simmer gently for about 40-45 minutes until the apricots are plump and soft. Remove the vanilla pod and discard
  3. Puree in a processor until you form a thick sticky jam. Store in a jar int he fridge and use for the pannacotta recipe or one croissants and toast!



  • 250ml double cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Splash vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 ½ gelatine leaves
  • Aprioct jam
  1. Combine the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a pan and gently heat to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft.
  3. Get ready 5 ramekins, wine glasses, shot glasses or tumblers or whatever you want to serve your pannacotta in. Fill the base with a thin layer of apricot puree and smooth out evenly. There will be more jam than needed but add as much as you like.
  4. Just before the cream mix begins to bubble, remove from the heat, and remove the vanilla pod. Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine leaves and whisk into the hot cream.
  5. Begin gentle, pour over a generous layer of the cream mixture onto your apricot puree. Leave to cool before leaving to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Serve with the rosemary biscuits and topped with some cinnamon sugared almond flakes if you like!


Rosemary Shortbread

  • 125g butter
  • 175g flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • ½- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Rub the flour butter and sugar together or combine in a food processor until you just begin to get a dough
  3. Add the rosemary and continue to mix to form a dough.
  4. Cut into biscuits shapes and bake on a lined baking tray for about 10 minutes (depending on size) until just turning the palest of gold and they are still soft. Watch them carefully as they cook quickly.
  5. Leave to cool before removing from the tray.


Lavender Shortbread


I’m afraid homemade shortbread is one of my weaknesses. This basic recipe has never failed me and has been handed down throughout the family. If you ever look at a shortbread recipe with more than 3 ingredients, chuck it and use this! Although a complete triumph on its own, I like to add a few cheeky additions now and again and here I had some fragrant lavender to hand. However, its open to experimentation with any flavours that get the heart racing, from lemon and poppy seed to ground hazelnuts or allspice. Lavenders one of those marmite flavours I think. Too much and it tastes like a bowl of your Grandma’s potpourri but added with a delicate hand it adds a quirky kick. I added an intuitive sprinkle to the basic recipe which is as follows. They’ll melt in your mouth like a snowman on an agar….believe me.

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 175g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • A sprinkle of lavender, lemon zest, ground nuts etc or any added extra flavour of your choice (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a food processor, mix all ingredients together until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture then continue until it comes together into a loose dough.
  3. Before it forms a ball of dough, stop the machine and turn the mixture out onto a floured surface.
  4. Form together into a ball using your hands. You can chill it now, wrapped in cling film, to let it rest but I’ve always found that the world will not end if you use it straight away, just make sure the room or your hands are not too hot as this will make it really soft when handling.
  5. You can either roll it out onto a floured work surface and cut out into biscuit shapes or place as a thin whole sheet into a lined baking tin.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes for biscuits and 15-20 minutes for a thicker sheet in a baking tray but check regularly. They will be ready when golden but try and get them out just before they turn too brown to ensure that melt-in-the-mouth texture and that they are not too crunchy.