I can’t say I’ve ever been one to celebrate Valentines Day. I always feel slightly awkward about the whole day and when you watch other couples out at dinner in a slightly uncomfortable over forced cheesy setting paying double prices, you wonder what they were thinking?!
I think it’s far more special and heart-felt to go out on a date night, or to have flowers bought for you on a random day just because, well ‘you wanted to!” Surely that means more than being told, on the 14th February, you must be romantic and spend lots of money on your other half to show that you care and love them.
This week in fact, Will and I celebrated 12 years together. Not 12 years married, but 12 years from making a decision that we’d take a stab at life together and see where it took us. From a dodgy (but much loved!) nightclub in Loughborough, I’d say we’ve come a long way and have had quite the adventure. And I think this adventure is only going to get a whole lot more exciting over the next year.
Really I should have been baking brownies, or making éclairs for Will to celebrate moving into the teen years, but I instead opted for something quite simple that I could make with Seb on a rainy afternoon. However, that didn’t quite go to plan! We had an attempt at making Cherry and Coconut Chocolate Florentines and whilst they tasted delicious, cutting them out proved to be rather challenging and the chocolate cracked and they looked disastrous. It was a definite case of substance over style!
I had another think and came up with something even simpler. We’ve got some friends round for dinner on Saturday evening and with lots of lemons left over I decided to make a tangy lemon posset for dessert that would freshen up the pallet after the spicy main course and I just needed something to accompany it. I thought a sweet crumbly biscuit against the smooth creamy posset would work perfectly.
Shortbread biscuits really take no time at all to throw together, in fact most the time is spent waiting for the dough to cool before rolling. I added simple flavours of lemon and mint which pair together beautifully with the citrus adding a little sharpness against the sweet sugary buttery shortbread.
You can make these with the kids, they love cutting them out and eating them in fact and it’s a nice way spending a rainy afternoon making a homemade gift for that someone special.
This is about as romantic as I can get, heart shaped lemon and mint shortbread biscuits.
Lemon and Mint Shortbread Biscuits
Makes approx. 24 biscuits (depending on what you use to cut them out)
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
180g plain flour
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tsp finely chopped mint
65g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling before and after baking
Heat your oven to 160 degrees C
Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment
Beat together your soft butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
Add your lemon zest and juice and beat again.
Sift in the flour and slowly mix together before bringing the mixture together using your hands. The mixture should come together to form dough. If it’s easier to create two balls of dough then do that and wrap each with cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Once chilled, take the dough from the fridge and place on a well-floured surface and flour your rolling pin too. Using the palm of your hand initially gently press to form a slightly flatter disc to begin rolling out. You need to be gentle or the dough will just fall apart.
Roll out till about 3-5mm and using your chosen cutter, cut out your dough and place on your baking tray with some space round them, as they will spread a little on baking.
You can gather together your remaining bits of dough and roll out again to make more biscuits. If your dough gets too soft, gather it back together in a ball and place back in the fridge with cling film wrapped round it.
Prick each biscuit using a fork and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. They are done when they have a slight golden colour round the edge. Keep an eye on them though as they can go from pale to dark very quickly if you’re not careful.
Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle on some extra sugar before serving.