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Valentine’s Day gives us a perfect opportunity to bake for our loved ones and it cheers us up at this dreary time of year.
I am a bit limited this month in how much time I can spend in the kitchen. Some of you may know, I had a knee replacement back in January which went really well but it means I’ve only just started baking – with the help of a crutch.
I started researching recipes at the beginning of February for The Spice Trail Challenge (this month it’s caraway) and I found a few chocolate and caraway recipes I immediately began to think of Valentine’s Day bakes. The Corner Kitchen’s, semolina shortbread, caraway, dark chocolate and sea salt recipe seemed such a mouthwatering combination I had to bookmark it until I was able to bake.
Inspired by the delicious trio of caraway, dark chocolate and sea salt, I set about making some biscuits.
Using the same quantities of caraway, dark chocolate and sea salt as Corner Kitchen’s recipe, I added them to my favourite shortbread recipe which follows a classic 3:2:1 rule: 3 parts flour and cornflour; 2 parts butter; 1 part sugar.
I like to use cornflour as it produces a delicate melt in your mouth texture and I thought it would be a good contrast to the crunch of the sea salt.
Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt and Caraway Seed Shortbread Hearts
Makes: About 30 depending on cutter size
- 225 g (1 cup) softened butter
- Half teaspoon sea salt plus a little extra for sprinkling
- 110 g (1/2 cup) caster/ superfine sugar
- 225 g (1 3/4 cup) plain / all-purpose flour
- 110 g (1 cup) cornflour / cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds – toasted
- 100 g (approx ½ cup) good quality dark chocolate – chopped or chips
Preheat oven: 300°F / 150°C / Gas Mark 2
Grease and line: 2 large baking trays / cookie sheets
- Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat until creamed.
- Sift flour and cornflour into a separate bowl and then add half to your creamed butter and sugar.
- Beat together until combined.
- Add the remaining flour and cornflour along with the salt, caraway seeds and dark chocolate and mix until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork it.
- Wrap the dough in cling film / plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll out to just less than 10 mm (3/4 ins) thick.
- Cut the short bread dough using shaped cutters, I used a 5cm (2 ins) heart shaped cutter but you can use any shape you like.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and place on baking tray/s.
- Bake in the oven until pale and golden in colour. Depending on the size and shape you have cut, they’ll probably take about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Best stored in an airtight tin, if they make it far.
These little beauties surpassed my expectations and I shall definitely be baking them again. I’m already hooked on dark chocolate and sea salt and now I have caraway to add to my list. In fact I can’t wait to start growing caraway in my herb garden.
I’m entering this recipe into a few food challenges this month:
- The Spice Trail Challenge hosted by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash.
- Teatime Treats’ Chocolate Challenge run by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers. Hosted this month by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.
- Simply Sensational Food’s Let’s Cook Sweet Treats for Valentine.
- February’s Calendar Cakes Challenge Oh L’amour hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.
- Treat Petite run by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer. Hosted this month by Cakeyboi, the theme is ‘Loved Ones’.