‘Love is in the air’.
Valentine’s day is coming up so I decided to get creative and make something a little different. Say hello to these ‘Strawberry Shortbread’ inspired hearts. These shortbread’s would be the perfect Valentine’s treat for a loved one, or for yourself to enjoy.
3 ingredient shortbread sandwich biscuits with a layer of strawberry jam, a swirl of pink strawberry flavoured swiss meringue, dipped in dairy-free white *pink* chocolate and a sprinkling of freeze-dried strawberries. They look so sweet, honestly, I’m obsessed!
So…strawberries and shortbread, the perfect combination right!?
I love the light and crispy shortbread biscuit paired with the sweet meringue cream swirl alongside the fruity jam. These biscuits are little bites of heaven!
I was originally going to make shortbread sandwich biscuits with just jam inside, but as it’s valentines day..why not go all out!?
I whipped up *pun intended* my Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream but added in a drop of vegan-friendly pink food gel alongside some strawberry flavouring to give these biscuits more fruity flavour and a nice smooth core.
Why I love this strawberry swiss filling:
- It’s light and airy
- It’s not overly sweet
- It complements the shortbread beautifully
- It’s easy to make
- When used with a fluted piping tip, it looks so pretty
You can use any vegan-friendly strawberry jam to fill these cookies. I prefer smooth jam without bits in as its easier to smooth/ spread over the biscuits, but with bits of berry will be fine!
What is Aquafaba:
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas. The Chickpea water or brine as it’s called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and this delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Makes: 10-15 sandwich cookies
Ingredients for the shortbread
- 150g of plain flour
- 50g of caster sugar
- 110g of dairy-free butter (I use Flora Plant-Based Block butter)
Ingredients for the buttercream
- 150g of dairy-free butter
- 50ml of aquafaba (see notes*)
- 200g of icing sugar
- Pink food gel
- 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry flavouring
Ingredients for the chocolate dip
- 100g of dairy-free white chocolate (I use Sainsbury’s own Free From Vegan Chocolate)
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- Pink food gel
- Freeze-dried strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees c fan, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift in the flour and sugar. Add in the butter and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry mixture until a dough forms. Form into a ball.
3. Generously flour a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie to cut out hearts and place all biscuits into the lined tray.
These biscuits do not spread.
4. Pop the cookies into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden in colour. Once golden, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack.
If you over bake these shortbreads, they will become too crispy, so keep an eye on them.
Allow to cool fully before filling.
Swiss meringue buttercream (method)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too. Add in the aquafaba and whip for a few minutes until it’s combined with the butter.
2. Sift in the icing sugar, a drop of pink food gel, strawberry flavouring and whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.
Your Swiss meringue buttercream should be thick, very creamy and silky smooth.
3. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with an open star tip nozzle.
1. Spread some strawberry jam over half of the shortbreads and top with a swirl of the swiss meringue. Sprinkle over some freeze-dried strawberries.
2. Fill a small saucepan 3/4 full with water and place onto the hob over low/ medium heat.
Finely chop the white chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl along with the coconut oil and a tiny drop of pink food gel. Too much food gel can make the chocolate solidify, so be careful. If this does happen, add a tiny bit of coconut oil to loosen the mixture. White chocolate is always trickier to work with than dark chocolate so keep an eye on it.
Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and allow to melt.
3. Take another shortbread heart and dunk one side into the pink chocolate, place on top of the meringue and sprinkle over some freeze-dried strawberries so it sticks to the wet chocolate. Pop in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
Store these shortbreads in a sealed container in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Store unfilled shortbread in a sealed container and can be left at room temperature.
Best enjoyed within 3 days of making.
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