The final round of the National Cookie Competition was last week and the theme was 'lemon'. I spent a while trying out ideas, but eventually settled for lemon shortbread cookies with chocolate and basil buttercream.
I know the combination of basil with chocolate sounds a bit strange, but it actually tastes divine. Try it out for yourself:
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
140g unsalted butter at room temperature (and cut into small pieces)
175g caster sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
250g unsalted butter
1 cupsifted icing sugar
2 tbsp skim milk
50g dark chocolate (melted and allowed to cool)
50g milk chocolate (melted and allowed to cool)
1/2 tbsp finely ground basil
1 tsp vanilla essence
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 200C. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl. Next, add the butter and use your fingers to combine the mixture together until it ressembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and eggs until the mixture becomes a soft dough. Shape dough into really small balls and place them onto lined baking trays, making sure that there is space between each cookie to allow for spreading during baking. Flatten the balls into discs once on the tray using your fingers or a spoon. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Allow them to cool completely on a wire tray before icing.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (normally takes about 5 minutes). Next add the milk and vanilla essence and beat until well combined. Mix in the melted chocolate, then add the icing sugar slowly, being sure to mix it in well after each addition. Lastly add the basil and give it a final mix. Pipe the buttercream onto one cookie then sandwich it onto another cookie of equal size. Dust the tops of the cookies with cocoa powder if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
I've really enjoyed being part of the national cookie network over the last 5 months. Thanks to everyone who has provided such nice comments on my monthly creations.
Happy baking x