A dear friend recently pronounced that true love is doing something sweet for the one that you love every day, not just on Valentines Day. Rather stating the obvious, I felt.
I fully accept the naff-ness of annual Valentines Day celebrations – hence, husband and I will be spending tomorrow night curled up at home with a good movie. Nonetheless I can’t quite bring myself to miss out on this unique opportunity to legitimately and fully embrace everything pink and heart shaped. So this year I’m making valentines for dear friends and family too. I’ve baked hundreds of chocolate heart shaped biscuits: wrapped up in celophane with a red ribbon they make for the perfect treat for my many, many valentines.
The recipe for these wafer thin and crumbly shortbread biscuits was inspired by Charbonnel and Walker’s classic rose cream chocolates. And, indeed, if you were very pushed for time, you could just buy a box of those. They too are utterly delicious. Rich dark chocolate on the outside and a delicately rose scented rose fondant in the centre, topped with a crystalised rose petal. Presented in a divinely old fashioned box. Old fashioned in a charming way.
But for the homemade touch, the inimitable made-just-for-you touch these biscuits are very hard to match. Simple to make – just a matter of combining the ingredients into a dough, rolling it out and cutting it with a cookie cutter – there are no complex baking skills involved. Scrumptious. Heart shaped, naturally. And made with love. The perfect Valentines treat. Frankly, the perfect treat at any time of the year: they really do taste good.
I used the same recipe for chocolate shortcrust pastry – rolled a touch more finely – as for this chocolate raspberry tart, with the simple addition of a teaspoon of rose water. Upon baking a number of batches, I resolved that one teaspoon is the perfect amount, although you may want to tweak the proportions to your own tastes. You could decorate the biscuits with fondant icing – perhaps pink and rose scented too? – but I preferred to leave them plain, as I didn’t want to compromise their divinely delicate flavour.
These are heavenly biscuits, so make them for your Valentine tonight. Live a cliche`. And do something sweet for your loved one on Valentines Day.
Then make them again tomorrow.
To make chocolate rose biscuits…
- 250g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g icing sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, softened and diced
- 1 tsp rose water
Combine the ingredients in a freestanding mixer with a flat paddle and mix until a dough starts to form. If you do not have a freestanding mixer, combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then gradually rub in the butter until – likewise – it eventually reaches a dough like consistency. Shape your dough into a flat disc, wrap it in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with greaseproof paper. Once the pastry has chilled, roll it out thinly and use a cookie cutter to make heart shapes. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly crisped. Be careful not to let the biscuits burn – they look ever so slightly underdone when you take them out of the oven, but they will harden up as they cool.