Pistachio and Rose water Shortbread hearts.

Cookie Credentials Continued….

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My Internets down and has been for the last 10 days!! My little fingers have been itching to blog about all that’s crumbly, fluffy, crispy, buttery, freshly baked, iced, diced, bouncy, moist, springy and oozing something delicious!! But alas it could not be and I have been bursting to get these Iranian inspired fancies on a page. Rose Water & Pistachio short bread Hearts.

Without the internet I have become agitated, forlorn, throwing myself on the bed and preying to the ceiling, why don’t you work? What have I done? Why can’t we sort this out? But we were so good together!!! I am constantly checking the connection like a teenager waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the new love of my life to call and end this misery. But the internet does not love me. In fact I doubt it even remembers my name. Fine! because I have started a love affair with the internet in the café across the road. It has been good to me, dependable and has the added benefit of baked goods, coffee on tap and continuous Christmas hits that remind me remember to “rock around a Christmas tree, feed the world, that baby it’s cold outside, to stay another day, to look to the future, simply have a wonderful Christmas time, and to wish it was Christmas everydaaaayy!!”

To express my love I think it’s only apt that I share a recipe for something else I love dearly, Shortbread! So following on from my cookie credentials blog featuring my Avocado and dark chocolate all American cookie I about turn to a delicately flavoured middle eastern inspired biscuit.

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I love middle eastern sweets and they use all of my favourite nuts and spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, almonds and pistachios. I wanted to do something that captures some of these flavours and pep up an old fashioned short bread recipe (which are always very popular with the family at Christmas). The short bread recipe I have chosen is a really simple one that anyone can do. Why simple? Well, I am really excited about baking and passionate about getting those who are afraid of the bake into the kitchen. Though baking can be more of an exact science than cooking shall we say,it can be simple and it can be fun! So to those I know who think of themselves as a disastrous baker be scared no more!

These make great gifts as they are very pretty and look gorgeous wrapped in Cellophane and tied with a bow. Think Christmas gift ideas. Apropos of my next blog ‘Homemade Christmas gifts’. Or a perfect ‘Thank you gift’ or just a ‘ I love you and am thinking of you gift’ which is the gift I gave my other half last week and that he took in his packed lunch to work ribbons and all. Short bread is my favourite type of biscuit and growing up with a lot of Scottish family many different types have been consumed.
There are many similar recipes out there and this is the one I use. But before we get started I’ve highlighted some BIG TIPS!

TIP 1 – I am using icing sugar as I want a more delicate biscuit which is perfect for the subtle flavours of Rose and Pistachio. Scottish short bread uses caster sugar and is more robust and crumbly.

TIP 2 – The short bread must be put in the fridge for 1 and a half hours which helps to develop flavour and helps it hold its shape.

TIP 3 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.
Rose Water and Pistachio Short Bread –

For the biscuit – Makes around 12 Medium hearts.

190g Plain flour

170g unsalted Butter

90g Icing Sugar

1 large egg yolk

Pinch Salt

Pistachio’s

For the Ice –

2 tsp Rose Water (from any Middle eastern Super Market or from the foods of the world isle in Tesco).

Icing Sugar

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Method –

1 – Measure out your dry ingredients first in a large mixing bowl.

2 – Chop up your butter (room temp) and rub into dry ingredients to make bread crumbs

3 – Add the egg and form the dough. Pick it up and mould into a large ball.

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4 – Wrap the ball in cling film and set aside in the fridge for 1 and a half hours (now go and do something else for that time to stop yourself from cheating and taking it out early)

5 – Heat the oven 20 mins before you are ready to put the shortbread in at 170.C

6 – Grab yourself 2 large pieces of baking parchment. Put the dough ball between the sheets and roll out the dough on top of the top layer of the parchment to around half a centre meter thick. Cut out with a heart shape cutter (mine was around 6 cm big).IMG_3841

7 – Line a baking tray with baking Parchment add the short bread.

8 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.

9 – Take out and put on a cooling rack. While cooling add 2 tsp of Rose Water in a bowl and sieve icing sugar slowly. Remember that the Rose Water is to be a subtle flavour and not like drinking a bottle of your great Aunts floral Perfume (which yes I have done by the way but I was only 5 and it just smelt so nice I thought I would just radiate it always if I consumed the bottle). So you may want to add a little tap water too. You want the icing to be runny and not watery. The constancy needs to be perfect to drizzle with so we can artistically drape our biscuits with our luxurious, pink, rose water ice. With a vintage pink food colouring or red add to the mixture to achieve the desired colour pink you want. I use Sugarflair colour paste. I think that the pastes are better than the liquid food colours you get in the supermarket. Colour paste lasts for ages and you just need a little for a big effect. If you are using paste for the first time I find it best to add the colour to the icing with a tooth pick dipped in the colour and then swirled into the icing. It always surprises me how little you need.

10 – With a teaspoon I drizzle the ice back and forth over the biscuit.

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Love the green colour of the pistachio’s in contrast to the pink ice. I think these biscuits are very elegant. They are delicate, buttery and crumbly. Drink with Earl grey yea for utter bliss and a taste of the high life.

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Grab yourself some Cellophane bags and some ribbon and make a lovely gift. I find using cake pop bags are fantastic and you can order them at any online cake craft store. A homemade gift is one of the best gifts as it is one of the most thoughtful and it’s from the heart and is actually…a heart…mine!

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Enjoy this cake adventure and add it to your cake diary. More homemade gifts to come next time in the run up to the big day.

The Cake Diaries xoxo

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