This week has been an absolute whirlwind and it seems its madness has been transposed into this rather swirly Fat Friday recipe.
A favourite of mine and my sister's, this chocolate and vanilla swirl shortbread is buttery, crumbly and oh-so-edible, filled to the brim with chocolate chunks and cooked just enough to crisp the edges while keeping the centre soft and oozing.
Making the swirls isn't exactly difficult [but we can totally pretend it is and impress the hell out of everyone, right?], it's just a case of rolling up two sheets of dough together, pinching the ends and slicing it up. Kind of like a swiss roll.
Pre-heat the oven to GM 2 // 150°C // 300° F
Now to make the doughs. Plural: there'll be one plain, one chocolate, all swirled together in a mad...well, swirl.
For the vanilla dough, sift together 150g flour and 50g sugar. Chop up 125g butter into cubes and rub into the dry mixture until it forms a ball of dough.
Rather than using the same process as making a bread-crumby consistency [rubbing with the tips of your fingers] it's much quicker to squeeze the butter into the flour and sugar, eventually compressing it into a dough. But again, lets pretend it's far more complicated than that, mmkay?
For the chocolate dough, repeat exactly the same process but add in the sachet of chocolate powder and adjust the amount of flour to 125g. The sugar and butter remain the same.
Now you should have two balls of dough. Pop them into the fridge for about half an hour to prep them for rolling. I know, I know, half an hours wait is a bit of a downer, but use it as an excuse to go and do something productive.
Watching TV totally counts.
After educating oneself via the medium of televisual activity [feel better for watching TV now?], remove the doughs from the fridge and roll out onto a well-floured surface. A rolling pin is preferable but not necessary....luckily I had a very kind house-mate who didn't mind her wine bottle getting a dusting of shortbread crumbs.
Roll until about half a centimetre thick [no rulers necessary...be free-spirited and guess, that extra millimetre or two will taste delicious] and each dough is roughly the same size.
Once rolled place one dough onto greaseproof paper, and the other on top of it...
...now just smash up the 100g of chocolate into shards and spread all over the top layer. Press down lightly to ensure it's cosily enveloped in dough [how I wish that were me right now].
And now for the fun bit. Roll up the dough from one end, using the greaseproof paper as a lever if necessary. Don't worry about any cracks - just squeeze them together and it'll be as good as new.
just looking at this photo is making me cringe. Symptoms of student housing and lack of good camera = yellowitus, crookedness and a serious case of blurred vision.
Pinch together the ends to ensure no chocolate can escape [like that little guy up there...who, of course, got gobbled up quicker than you can say shortbread] and slice into sections of about 1cm in width [again, go by eye, by finger, by big toe if you really want to. Actually no. Don't do that. Just...don't].
Place the slices onto a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes.
And now for the hardest part. Trying to resist eating them straight from the oven. That chocolate scent is a tempter if ever I knew one, but your mouth will thank you for the wait. Blisters are not its friend [as I've realised many a time].
Now boil the kettle, grab a swirl or three and enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet....or err, a marathon of Come Dine With Me in my case.
P.S. A big thank you to Sophie who helped me out with this one. Not only did she not judge my constant opening of the oven door just to ''check'' [i.e. hope they're cooked already darn it], but she also joined me in watching a night of televisual trash. Bliss.