Shortbread is high on the list when it comes to classic Christmas baking. As a child, our staples were shortbread cookies, sugar cookies and peanut butter balls. My siblings favoured sugar cookies while my mom and I loved the buttery softness of shortbread (my Dad happily consumed all the baking and my baking experiments!)
I have baked many shortbread recipes in my kitchen. I have found that a favourite amongst my family and friends is the milk chocolate nougat (commonly known as the Toblerone brand) shortbread. The recipe I present today has a salty and sweet flavour. Soft with crunchy pieces, this cookie is always the first to be eaten on a cookie tray.
When preparing a cookie tray, a fundamental detail is to have cookies of uniform size. I prefer smaller cookies over larger ones for two reasons:
1. more cookies can fit on a tray and 2. your guest can taste several types of cookies rather than committing to one large one.
What are your favourite baked goods during the holiday season? I would love to hear from you!
Milk Chocolate Nougat (Toblerone) Shortbread
Makes: 30-36 cookies
Time: Prep time (30 minutes) + resting time (1 hour) + baking (40 minutes)
225g (I cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
63g (½ cup) icing sugar
40g (1/3 cup) cornstarch
180g (1 ½) cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
7 triangles (approx. 134g) of a large chocolate nougat bar (Toblerone), chopped into pieces*
1. Measure and prepare the ingredients.
2. Cream the butter until light using a stand or hand mixer until light.
3. Sift the icing sugar and add to the butter, mixing until fluffy.
4. Add the cornstarch, flour and salt and mix at a low speed until the flours are just incorporated. The dough will be soft.
5. Stir the chocolate in by hand using a large wooden spoon or wide spatula.
6. Cover the cookie dough with a damp tea towel and place in the refrigerator for an hour. **
7. When ready to bake, move your baking rack to the top third of the oven. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
9. Scoop a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Place on the cookie sheet 10cms apart. Work quickly so as not to heat the dough up too much.
10. Bake on the top rack for 15-18 minutes. The placement of the baking sheet at the top of the oven prevents excessive browning on the bottom of the cookies. Cookies should look a little dry and fully cooked. Place the tray on a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the second batch.
* The chocolate does not have to be cut in a uniform size as this adds interest to the cookie. Use a large, sharp knife to efficiently chop the chocolate.
** It is essential that the cookie dough be allowed to rest in the refrigerator. This makes the dough easier to work with and prevents the cookie from spreading too much while baking.