Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Limoncello Valentine Creams and Valentine Heart Shaped Biscuits

Valentines day is only one day away. I finally managed to make both  Limoncello truffles and Valentine Heart Biscuits. I didn't think that I would be able to make anything this year as I've been busy with work and home life etc etc. 

But I managed so woo!

Limoncello is a lemon based liquor originating in Italy. It's a really nice drink with lemonade in summer or neat but I don't recommend it! I know a certain friend, that can't stand the smell of limoncello because she got drunk and I wont name name's. Right Sof? Haha. 

You will need about 3 days to make these but that's because the truffles go into freezer twice. 
Day 1: Make truffle centre, pop in freezer
Day 2: Roll into balls. Back in freezer.
Day 3: Cover in chocolate and place in fridge to set. 

Before you go steaming in with this recipe, there's a little warning. Work with the truffle filling as quick as you can, as it's prone to melt at room temperature and at hand temperature. I wrapped some in little bags to give out as gifts, which were tied with floss, because I couldn't find any string. 

Recipe: Makes 36  

      ·   200g/7oz white chocolate
      ·   4 tbs double cream
      ·   Grated zest of 1 lemon
      ·   4 tbsp limoncello liqueur
      ·   100g/4oz butter
      ·   600g/22oz white chocolate, for tempering
      ·   Sprinkles/glitter
      ·   Pink food colour paste (optional)

     ·   Heatproof Bowl
     ·   Saucepan
     ·  Wooden Spoon
     ·  Whisk
     ·  Sealable container
     ·  Tablespoon
     ·  Teaspoon
     ·  2x Boards or plates covered with parchment paper
     ·  Fork 

    1.    Heat 5cm/2 inch water in a saucepan. Put a heatproof bowl on top of the pan, making sure the bottom of bowl does not touch the water. Place the 200g of chocolate in the bowl with the cream and heat gently to allow the chocolate to melt. If using put the food colouring into the mix at this stage.

    2.    Take the bowl off the heat and toss in the lemon zest, limoncello and butter. Whisk until the mixture looks like lemon curd.
   3.  Spoon into a sealable container, put the lid on and chill in the fridge overnight.

    Now go read a book or have a nap or just go about your business.

    4.    Scoop small teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Put on a board lined with baking parchment and freeze overnight.
   Once again go outside and play in the snow (It's been snowing here in London again but now it's all slush by now.)
  5.   Temper the 600g chocolate by chopping it into pieces, then place it into a microwavable bowl and melt at 800-1000W, checking it 15 seconds and taking care that it doesn’t overheat. When the chocolate looks nearly melted but there are still a few bits bobbed on top, take it out of the microwave and stir in the chocolate gently until smooth.

   Look at the intense concentration on my face as I coat each truffle. I don't do photo's that well and it was on my bad side, of course. 
   6. Using a fork and spoon dip each truffle into the chocolate. Toss about to coat then lift out and place back onto the parchment paper, roughing the chocolate with a fork for a textured effect. Decorate while still wet. Repeat with all the truffles.
    7.    Place them in the fridge to set.
    8. Eat or wrap in bags to give away.

These biscuits are easy to make and make great gifts for that special someone. They will need a few hours to completely dry. I recommend that you make them a couple of days ahead of when you need them. 

Recipe: Makes 20 biscuits
    · 125g unsalted butter
    · 125g caster sugar
    · 1 medium egg
    · 1 tsp vanilla extract
    · 250g plain flour, sieved plus a little extra to flour your work surface.

   · Electric whisk
   ·      Bowl
   ·      Sieve
   ·      Heart shaped cutter
   ·      Whisk
   ·      Cling-film
   ·      Baking sheet lined with parchment
   ·      Rolling pin
   1.    In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
   2.    Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together.
   3.    Sift half the flour into the bowl and mix in, then sift in the other half and mix again.
   4.    Knead the dough until smooth, then wrap in cling-film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
   5.    Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4.
   6.    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around 4mm thick and cut out into heart shapes.
   7.    Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool before decorating.

Recipe: Stiff peak royal icing
    · 500g icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
    · 2 medium egg whites
    · 1 tsp lemon juice
    · Red and pink food colouring paste
    ·  Electric whisk
    · Bowl x 4
    ·  Sieve
    · 6 disposable piping bags
    · Scissors
    · Forks x 3
    · Toothpick
    · Tissue
    · Tablespoons x 3

1.    Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
2.    Add the egg whites and the lemon juice to the icing sugar and mix together for about 5 minutes.
3.    The mix should look smooth and shiny. If it looks a little dry then add one drop of lemon juice and mix for a minute.
4.    Once your icing makes a stiff peak put it in 3 clean bowls.
5.    Colour 2 of the bowls of icing red and pink. Leave one of the icing bowls coloured white.
6.    Quarter fill, 3 of the piping bags with each colour. Snip a small hole in the top of each bag.
7.    Take a heart biscuit and starting from the top centre, pipe an outline around the inside edge of the biscuit to the tip of the heart. Stop and move the bag away from the biscuit quickly. Then repeat on the other side. You can do this in a combination of colours including half and half colours.

8.    Make sure there are no holes or missing gaps in the hearts, if there are fill them in with the correct colour.
9.    Once all the hearts have been outlined, add a teaspoon of water to each of the colours until the consistency of each icing is runny. Keep adding water, carefully, until it reaches running consistency.
10.  Fill each 3 more disposable piping bags and cut 3 small holes in the ends.
11.  Flood the inside of the biscuit starting at the edge and zigzagging up and down until completely flooded.
12.  Working as quick as you can, decorate your biscuit with other colours, by holding the tip of the bag just above the iced biscuit using a gentle pressure.

  13.  If you pipe 2 lines of icing on your biscuit and then using a toothpick drag lightly through the icing to create a marbled pattern. Wipe the toothpick with tissue to clean. You can even put dots instead of lines to make mini hearts.
I hope you all have a lovely Valentines day! Happy Baking!
Bake and Love On!
Bake On! Penny x
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