Vanilla Bean Shortbread Biscuits with 'Mint Green Tea' Chocolate and Ganache

Last week we featured the Sticky Fruit Loaf recipe from PG Tips who were the official sponsors of The Patron’s Lunch, which took place in The Mall in St James’s Park on the 12th June. Here, former royal chef Carolyn Robb, shares with us another teatime favourite.

“Shortbread, one of the great Scottish traditions, is a favourite of the royal family. It is often served for afternoon tea, particularly when in Scotland. In this variation of the traditional recipe, the biscuits are sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache, which has been infused with PG tips Green Tea Mint. The crisp buttery shortbread marries perfectly with the sumptuous, aromatic minty green tea chocolate ganache. For special occasions you can make half of the biscuits pale green by adding a few drops of natural green food colour.”  Carolyn Robb

Makes about 50 biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

For the vanilla-bean shortbread:

125g / 4 1/2oz slightly salted butter

50g / 2oz caster sugar

2,5ml / 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste

125g / 4 1/2oz plain flour

60g / 2oz corn flour

A pinch of salt

For the green shortbread:

125g / 4 1/2oz slightly salted butter

50g / 2oz caster sugar

a few drops of natural green food colour (optional)

125g / 4 1/2oz plain flour

60g / 2oz corn flour

A pinch of salt

For the 'Mint Green Tea' Chocolate Ganache:

225ml / 1 cup double cream

2 PG tips Green Tea Mint teabags

4 good stems of fresh mint - optional *

25ml / 2 TBSP boiling water

120g / 4oz dark chocolate drops

80g / 3oz milk chocolate drops

A little icing sugar for dusting

The fresh mint adds a wonderful dimension to the flavour but is not essential as the teabags already contain some mint. You could also use normal PG tips Green Tea teabags with the addition of the fresh mint.

METHOD:

1. Make the vanilla bean shortbread: cream together the butter and sugar until it is light in colour and ‘fluffy.’

2. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

3. Sift in the flour, cornflour and salt and mix well, bringing the mixture together into a ball with your hands.

4. Wrap in cling-film and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

5. The dough can be made in a food processor, although you need to be careful not to over-
mix it. Alternatively, if the butter is soft you can easily make it by hand; I think hand-made dough yields the best biscuits of all!

6. Make the green shortbread in the same way and chill.

7. On a floured board roll out the dough to a thickness of 5 - 6mm.

8. Using your chosen cutter cut out the biscuits and lay them on a baking sheet that has a silicon liner or some baking parchment on it.

9. Chill for a further 10 minutes before baking.

10. Bake at 180’C for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden.

11. Make the chocolate ganache: In a small heavy based pan bring the cream to the boil with the teabags and the fresh mint. Add 2 tablespoons of boiling water and simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for a further 5 minutes. Pour the cream through a sieve to remove the teabag and the mint. Return the cream to the pan and gently reheat it to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, leave on one side to cool. When it is cold whisk gently with a handheld electric mixer then put it into a piping bag. Be careful not to over-whisk it or the ganache will become grainy.

12. When the biscuits have cooled, sandwich one vanilla bean and one green biscuit together with the chocolate ganache. If you don't have a piping bag you can spread the chocolate onto the shortbread with a small palette knife.

13. Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

14. Store in an airtight container. Best eaten within a few days or they lose their crispness.