I have been shying away from some of the more frivolous cookbooks in my collection, and find myself returning again and again to the Leith's Cookery Bible. I quite like the way pages upon pages of it are filled with French sounding dishes I've never even heard of. The first chapters give advice on how to cater a buffet for 80 people and the basics of food hygiene. There are few pictures, and they are mostly pretty useless for the basic home cook - 3 ways to present apple flans?
I had a craving for shortbread, and I had some chocolate left over from the stall that needed using up. I love making shortbread, as it uses very standard store-cupboard ingredients. It's ideal for late night baking sprees when you can't be bothered to go to the shop. It's also easily jazzed up by whatever ingredients you have lying around (I'm quite a fan of citrus and herbs).
As the chocolate helps seal in the moisture, these keep really well. Be careful not to leave them in a warm place, as the chocolate will melt. While this won't affect the taste, they might become a bit blotchy looking. The rice flour helps to keep the texture really "short", but if you don't have any, you can substitute it for more plain flour.
Black & White Shortbread (adapted from Leith's Cookery Bible)
Makes about 8
55g caster sugar
110g plain flour
55g rice flour
100g white chocolate
100g dark chocolate
1) Preheat the oven to 170C.
2) Thoroughly mix the sugar and butter together.
3) Add the flour, and gently knead to make a smooth dough.
4) Roll out the dough on a floured surface, to about 5mm thick.
5) Use a biscuit cutter to cut out large circles. Reroll the scraps until you have 8 biscuits.
6) Put the biscuits on a tray, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. They should be starting to turn golden.
8) Cool on a rack.
9) Melt the white chocolate in a small pot. Use a pot that the biscuits will only just fit in to, as you want it to be as deep as possible.
10) Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Dip the biscuits halfway in the white chocolate, and place them on the paper to cool. Put the tray in the fridge if your kitchen is warm.
11) Once the white chocolate has hardened, repeat steps 9 & 10 with the dark chocolate.