inally, finally, it’s Feeding Month. For 31-ish days, it seems perfectly reasonable to bounce from caffeine high to sugar high to booze.
I for one am full in the throes of festive eating – the table between my colleague and I is now mostly orange citrus fruits and shortbread.
Four years on since my last Christmas in retail, I’m not sure I can say, “Well, Christmas starts in October for me!” these days, but it can start now. I’ve bought wintery candles, and started writing party food lists, and decided to put the tree up when my flatmates were out, because that is the most boring bit. The moment when you drop the box and scoot back in case of spiders; the trying to work out how the hell the base goes together. The lengthy task of separating out branches.
But with that done, it’s all fairy lights and glitter from here. And a lil too much food, of course.
I thought I’d better sneak this post in before we all get biscuit fatigue. And chocolate fatigue. You know that feeling you get on December 27th, when the only Quality Streets left are the bad ones and you’re gagging for a salad? Yeah. That.
Shortbread is one of those go-to, back-to-basics, g’waaaaaan-get-your-hands-in-there recipes. There’s calmness in rubbing butter into flour. For these, we add a little light malt extract, just enough to make them taste like a more indulgent Malteser.
Makes 18, ish
140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180C and line a couple of baking trays. Using a fork or electric whisk, smoosh together the butter and malt extract until fully combined.
Add the sugar and flour and rub the mixture together with your fingers, stickiness and all.
Roll out on a well-floured surface to about 7mm thick and cut out as you wish. Bake for 10-15 minute, until just starting to turn slightly golden – keep an eye on them because the addition of malt makes them turn more quickly.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool, then melt the chocolate* and pipe/spoon/dip as you prefer.
*I tend to melt it in a disposable piping bag – chop it into fairly small bits (half squares, at least), pop it into a disposable plastic piping bag (tip in tact!) and place it into warm water. The heat from the water will melt it with no risk of gross burnt bits!