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Valentine Fair chocolate shortbread hearts


A recipe from Vanessa Kimbell

This love-heart shortbread is easy to make and good to eat, because behind the buttery crunch it also has an intense, sophisticated chocolate flavour. These biscuits say, “I love you. I love you enough to make you something delicious and I love you so much that I chose ingredients that considered our world and our future.”

About four years ago I interviewed conservationist and chocolate revolutionary Philip Kauffmann for a radio programme. The piece was meant to be about two minutes long and about the benefits of eating chocolate. With in moments Philip was talking about the unique ecology of the cacao tree and the links that mean that every time we eat chocolate it relates back to the rain forest. “The lungs of our planet are under threat,” he told me, handing me a small dark piece of chocolate. He paused as the chocolate began to melt in my mouth. For a moment there was silence. The intensity of the flavour was unlike any chocolate I’d ever eaten. Sweet yes, intense; fruity with raspberries and plums and a depth of flavour that rang on like the sound of a bell hanging on the air. Philipp explained that when you buy his Original Beans chocolate, a cocoa farmer can grow trees in a way that will support both the forest and his family. It was the first time I had considered that my own ingredient choices could help rebalance the enormous ecological deficit from the continuing deforestation of the rainforests over the past 20 years.

Makes: 24 biscuits Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 18 - 25 minutes Suitable for freezing? YES

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan assisted/300°F/gas mark 2.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter until white and fluffy. Add the flour and salt mix well. Do not over-mix, the lighter you mix the shorter the texture. Add the chocolate buttons. Roll out to about 1.25cm/½ inch thick and cut into heart shapes.
  3. Place the shortbread shapes on a baking tray spaced slightly apart and bake for 15 - 18 minutes. Be warned the colour at the end of cooking changes rapidly, so keep your eye on them. They are nicer just lightly coloured. Place on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with a little sugar.

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