Overview

  • PREP: 70 MINS
  • COOK: 10-12 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
  • SERVES: 60 Biscuits

Background

Here are some easy to use recipes and techniques for making the perfect shortbread swirls to wow your friends and family. We will be making Vanilla Pate Sable – a delicate and crumbly pastry perfect for a delicious, buttery biscuit, and our gorgeous Chocolate Shortbread.

I will warn that before commencing baking, these biscuits are incredibly addictive, so be sure to cook only what you need! The rest will keep in the fridge or freezer – otherwise after all of your hard work; your beautiful swirls will disappear in an instant!

1. Vanilla Pate Sable

  • 313g Plain Flour
  • 250g Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2.5 Medium Egg Yolks (42g)
  • 5g Vanilla Extract

Allow your butter to sit out of the fridge for up to half an hour, just so it softens a little, before making the pastry. Sieve the icing sugar into the butter, and mix on the lowest speed with the paddle, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle intermittently, until it is smooth.

It is important to keep the speed slow, so that you do not incorporate air into the butter. This will result in your biscuits puffing, cracking, loosing shape, and being far too delicate and breakable.

Once the butter and sugar are completely smooth, you can add the flour and salt. Mix the dry ingredients in, only until what is in the bowl is uniformly combined. Make sure to scrape down the bowl and paddle again here, so that there won’t be any lumps of butter left behind.

Next add the yolks and vanilla extract to the bowl. Keeping the paddle at a slow speed, and scraping down the sides and paddle as required, continue to mix just until everything comes together and is uniformly combined and smooth. The dough is soft, as a result of the high proportion of butter in it. This is part of what is going to make is so delicious when you get to taste it!

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Remove each piece from the bowl and place it onto its own sheet of parchment paper approx. 30cm x 40cm or a little smaller. Place another sheet of parchment, the same size, on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of dough so that it is the same size as the parchment paper, and of an even thickness. Use a baking tray or chopping board to transfer the two sheets to the fridge. They can be placed on top of one another, but it is important to keep them flat.

2. Chocolate Shortbread

  • 4.75 Medium Egg Yolks (80g)
  • 160 Caster Sugar
  • 160g Unsalted Butter
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 37g Cocoa Powder
  • 7g Baking Powder
  • 5g Salt

Have your butter nice and soft for this dough. Give it an hour or more at room temperature before beginning.

First place the egg yolks and caster sugar in the mixing bowl, and using the whisk attachment, whip them up until they become paler and fluffy. Remove them from the bowl, and set them aside.

Place the butter in the bowl, and using the paddle attachment, mix on slow speed until smooth.

Sieve the cocoa powder into the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the now smoothed butter and mix until uniformly combined. Scrape down the paddle and bowl as necessary.

Lastly add back in the egg yolk mix and, still using the paddle and being sure to scrape down the sides, mix until combined.

This mix will be very soft, much more so than the sable.

Use them same technique as above, divide the dough into two parts and roll each between two sheets of parchment measuring approx. 30cm x 40cm.

These can then go in the fridge to chill and relax until fully set just like the Vanilla Sable.

 

Shortbread Swirl

Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Swirl

 

Making one swirl roll at a time; take one vanilla and one chocolate out of the fridge and place them on the counter. Unpeel the top sheet of parchment off both. Looking to match up the two pieces of dough exactly, invert the chocolate dough, and place it on top of the vanilla – so that the parchment is now facing up, and the two pieces of dough are stuck together. Remove the second layer of parchment from the chocolate layer on top.

For the dough to be at the perfect temperature for the next step (to roll your swirl); you want it to have softened slightly, so that it won’t crack and break as soon as you attempt to roll it. However, if it gets too soft, it is definitely best to replace it in the fridge to allow it to cool down again before continuing.

To roll the swirls, place the dough so that it is landscape in orientation on the counter in front of you. I always find it easiest to begin to roll the centre of the swirl with the nearest side of the rectangle of dough, and then roll away from myself. The centre is the really important bit. It needs to be tight, and neat. Once this is achieved the rest will follow naturally. Use the bottom layer of parchment to guide the dough into the swirl, and then tighten a little, so there are no gaps. Then just roll away across the sheet until you reach the other side.

Slide a flat tray underneath the swirl(s) and transfer back into the fridge. If you would like to make smaller bite size swirls stop rolling when you are half way across the sheet and cut the dough. Then begin again from the centre point to repeat the previous step and make the second swirl. When your swirls are fully set and cold in the fridge they are ready for the next step.

Preheat your oven to 160 C. Make a tiny bit of egg wash with an egg yolk, a little drop of cream, and a tiny pinch of salt. Brush the outside of your swirl all over and then cover liberally in caster sugar. Dust off any excess. Cut the swirls at 1cm intervals, and then space them out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cook the swirls for approx. 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven – until the vanilla sable is golden. Allow to cool, and pop the kettle on!

If you do not want to cook all of the dough together you can clingfilm the swirls, and they will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for a month. Just place them in the fridge the night before you want to use them, and they will be defrosted and ready to go in the morning. I hope you enjoy using this recipe, and tasting your delicious crumbly swirls.

Happy baking! 

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