Valentine's day is coming close and although I find the whole thing a bit of a commercial rip off, the sentiment is there. As I love anything heart-shaped, it is always a good excuse to make a load of pretty things and I have a good selection of heart-shaped cutters, tins and sprinkles to help me.
Interestingly, Valentine's day has its roots in the Christian Church and is linked to stories about the martyrdom of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. In particular, one of them (a young priest in third century Rome) was executed for marrying young couples secretly at a time when marriage had been banned by the Emperor Claudius.
Valentine's day appears to have become more significantly associated with the modern notion of expressing romantic love in the Middle Ages when young lovers started to demonstrate their love for one another by presenting flowers, confectionary and greetings cards. These days, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion cards are sent each year, which seems like a winner if you're in the card trade! Heaven knows how much money is spent on flowers and other gifts……..
Pink and Red are the colours of the day - pink apparently symbolising love and care and red symbolising passion.
Personally, I am more than happy to ditch the commercialism of it all and show my love through something home-made and edible. These heart biscuits are perfect. Not only are they the most beautiful dusky pink colour, but their amazingly deep strawberry flavour is totally natural, coming only from the freeze dried strawberry powder they contain.
They are crisp, sweet (but not over-sugary) and are decadently dipped in white chocolate which makes them extra special and nicely off-sets the fruity-sharpness of the strawberry. But beware…… they are incredibly moreish……… and they may all be devoured long before they reach the intended recipient (especially if you have a little person in the family)!
February's Tea Time Treats may be predictably 'Chocolate' in celebration of all the love, but who cares about 'predictability'? Chocolate is always good by me, definitely where it's at for Valentine's and the white chocolate on these delicious Strawberry Hearts means they also qualify perfectly as my entry for the challenge this month. Don't forget to check out the host blogs - Lavender & Lovage and The Hedge Combers, who do such a fantastic job in getting us to produce and share our decadent delights........
They are also spot-on as my entry for February's Biscuit Barrel Challenge being hosted by Laura over at 'I'd Much Rather Bake Than...', who has further decreed this as the month to blog 'chocolate'. Perfect Laura! Any excuse will do for me............
Strawberry & White Chocolate Biscuits
30g white rice flour
60g corn flour
30g potato flour
60g tapioca flour
20g sorghum flour
120g unsalted butter - cold and cubed
50g icing sugar
30g caster sugar
20g ground freeze dried strawberry powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
150g white chocolate
sprinkles to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- In a large bowl, weigh and mix the flours, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add and stir in the sugars and strawberry powder.
- Add the vanilla extract and milk (a little at a time) and using a flat knife or the back of a silicone spoon, gradually bring the ingredients together to form a firm dough.
- Knead the dough by hand to ensure it is fully combined.
- Using a sprinkling of either corn flour or rice flour on both your rolling surface and the rolling pin to prevent sticking, roll the dough out to a thickness of about ½ cm.
- Cut the dough using a cookie cutter into your chosen shapes and place onto baking trays lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to darken. Be very careful not to over-cook and check frequently during the cooking process, swapping and turning the trays around in the oven to ensure an even bake.
- When cooked, turn off the oven and open the oven door for a few minutes to allow to cool slightly. Leave the biscuits in the oven to allow to dry out as the oven cools. Check very frequently at the start of this process to make sure that the biscuits are not continuing to brown (if you are concerned, leave the oven door open for a little longer).
- When the oven has almost cooled, remove the biscuits to a wire tray.
- To make the chocolate coating, melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl either stirring over a gently simmering pan of water or in the microwave (on 30 second bursts, medium setting, stirring between each).
- Once melted, half dip each biscuit in the chocolate and carefully place on a clean sheet of baking paper to allow to cool and set at room temperature. Whilst the chocolate is still wet, add your favourite sprinkles to decorate.
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