125g unsalted brown butter (you need approximately 200g of butter as it will reduce significantly once cooked)
50g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 large orange
200g plain flour
50g walnuts (finely chopped)
100g semi-sweet or milk chocolate (roughly chopped)
40g Demerara sugar (for rolling)
Place 200g of unsalted butter into a light coloured pan (this will help you to keep an eye on the colour of the butter as it browns).
Put the pan over a medium heat and begin gently melting the butter. Swirl the butter occasionally to ensure even cooking and browning. The butter will change colour throughout the cooking process; cook the butter until a toasty brown colour and nutty aroma is achieved.
At this point take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter through a sieve to remove all the milk solids at the bottom of the pan.
Refrigerate the brown butter for 1 hour until solidified but still soft (similar to the consistency of room temperature butter).
Cream the caster sugar and 125g of the brown butter until light and fluffy.
Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and the zest of 1 large orange and mix until combined.
Add the plain flour and mix until just combined (being careful not to over-mix).
Add the chopped walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate and fold into the dough using a spatula until evenly distributed.
Using either your hands or a paddle attachment bring the dough together to form a ball.
Take the ball of dough and form it into a log; wrap the log in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough has chilled and set, begin pre-heating your oven to 170°C.
Remove the cookie log from the fridge and brush with some melted brown butter (you should have some left over at this point) and then roll in Demerara sugar until the exterior of the log is completely coated.
Cut the log into 1cm slices using a sharp knife.
Place the sliced shortbread on to a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 – 18 minutes until very lightly browned.
Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before enjoying.
Feel free to omit the walnuts for dried cranberries which should work perfectly with the combination of flavours in this recipe.
Instead of rolling the dough into a log, it can also be scooped using a cookie scooper and baked as such. Just remember to press down each mound of dough lightly with a lid or the bottom of a glass (any flat surface with do) to ensure even thickness. You can then at this point sprinkle with Demerara sugar, chill for an hour and then proceed as per instructions provided above.
The Demerara sugar in this recipe can also be substituted with turbinado sugar.
If you wish, you can substitute the vanilla extract in this recipe for half a pod of vanilla for extra vanilla flavour.
Put a bowl over a pan filled with gently simmering water (bain-marie), making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
Add the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in to the bowl and stir every so often until completely melted. Leave this mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Using a handheld mixer, in a separate bowl combine the eggs, sugars, espresso powder and vanilla extract and beat until thick, creamy and pale. (The mixture consistency should resemble a milkshake and will slightly increase in size. This usually takes approximately 5-8 minutes).
Add the cooled melted chocolate into the eggy mixture and gently fold until combined and an even chocolatey brown colour is achieved.
Sift the plain flour and baking powder over the chocolate batter and fold until just combined.
Add in the chopped soft caramels and semi-sweet chocolate chips, fold until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Set batter aside and leave to firm up at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Scoop mounds of batter on to a lined baking tray and top each cookie with a sea salted pretzel, remembering to push the pretzel in slightly to ensure that it sticks.
Bake for 7 – 8 minutes until puffy and cracked, they should have a lovely shine and crackly top.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!
I used ‘Werther’s Original Soft Caramels’ for this cookie recipe. I find that they stay soft and gooey even after the cookies have completely cooled.
Feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips with white, milk or dark chocolate. Go crazy and add some nuts! This is a great base recipe for any flavour combinations you may want to try.
If you do not have espresso powder on hand, you can easily substitute this with 1 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water or warm milk.
When adding the cooled chocolate into the eggy mixture, remember to wipe the bottom of your bowl as water droplets will have gathered underneath from the bain-marie.
Try and not to leave this batter sitting around for more than 5 minutes, the finish of the bake is affected if the batter is left out for too long and you will risk loosing the lovely crackly and glossy top!
Divide the puff pastry roll into 3 equal pieces, then leave to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Place the puff pastry layers on to a lined baking tray and prick each layer with a fork.
Dust each puff pastry layer liberally with icing sugar.
Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper on top of the puff pastry layers and then weigh them down with another baking tray. This will help you to achieve the notorious crispy puff pastry layers known to millefeuille.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Leave the pastry to cool on a wire rack.
Once cool dust each puff pastry layer with icing sugar again.
To make the chantilly cream: combine the 600ml whipping cream, 25g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract in a cold bowl and whisk until soft peaks form and a piping consistency is achieved. To help the cream firm up, leave to chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Once the pastry layers are cool; it is now time to begin assembling the millefeuille.
Place your whipping cream into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle (I used a Wilton 1A tip).
Take one of the puff pastry layers (piping a few dots of cream under the first layer to help secure your pastry).
Pipe your whipping cream using the round nozzle, then drizzle with lemon curd and finally top with fresh raspberries. Repeat the process until you are finished with all your puff pastry layers.
Eat immediately or chill until you are ready to serve.
You can omit the raspberries and try this recipe with any berry your heart desires 🙂
For a homemade lemon curd recipe check out my blog post here: https://bakewithdollies.com/2018/03/06/homemade-lemon-curd/
180ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 4 lemons)
1 tbsp lemon zest
150g caster sugar
80g unsalted butter (room temp)
3 whole eggs & 2 egg yolks (lightly whisked using a fork)
Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, caster sugar and unsalted butter into a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a pan filled with gently simmering water (bain-marie), making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
Stir the mixture every so often until the butter has completely melted and incorporated.
Take the bowl off the heat and leave the mixture to cool for a few minutes prior to adding the eggs (this will prevent them from becoming scrambled).
Once your mixture has slightly cooled place the bowl back on to the pan over a low heat and add the eggs gradually.
Constantly whisk until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon or spatula (approximately 5 – 10 minutes).
Remove from the heat and immediately pour the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to achieve a smooth texture.
Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 3 hours until the curd has fully cooled.
Pour into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
If you prefer a sweeter lemon curd feel free to add up to an additional 50g of caster sugar to this recipe.
When making the lemon curd be sure to use a low-heat, this will help stop the curd from boiling and splitting.
Once you have added the eggs do not be alarmed if your curd has one or two bits of egg white, this is totally normal as egg whites cook at a much quicker rate. Taking the bowl off the heat prior to adding the eggs in will help to prevent this from happening. However, be sure to sieve your curd at the end to guarantee a silky smooth result.
When covering prior to refrigeration, ensure the cling-film is directly touching the surface of the curd to stop a skin from forming.
To sterilise your jar, wash with hot soapy water and then place the jar onto a baking tray into a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 10 minutes.
This curd can also be frozen and kept for up to 1 month in the freezer.
Toast the pecans for a few minutes until they become aromatic. (You can do this in either a pan on the stove or on a baking sheet in the oven).
Once the pecans have cooled, pulse in a food processor or use a knife until roughly chopped.
Cream the butter, sugars, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and salt.
Fold in the chopped pecans to the mixture until well combined.
Unroll your all butter puff pastry, cut and divide into six equal pieces.
Take one of the cut puff pastry pieces and spoon 2 – 3 teaspoons of the pecan filling in the centre.
Using a sharp knife cut at a diagonal angle on either side of the pastry, fold the strips alternately towards the middle to create a plait. Be sure to tuck in the ends and pinch together at the top and bottom of the pastry to prevent the filling spilling out during baking.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of puff pastry and filling.
Transfer into the fridge and chill for 10 – 15 minutes.
Whilst the pastries are chilling, preheat your oven to 220°C.
Brush the pastries with egg wash or some melted butter prior to baking in the oven.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown.
Add the apricot jam and water into a pan and gently simmer for approximately 5 minutes until thickened and syrupy like a glaze.
Brush the tops of the warm pastries with the apricot glaze to give a shiny finish.
Combine the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract or maple syrup using a whisk until lump-free and smooth.
Drizzle the pastries with the icing generously.
Garnish with either whole or chopped pecans and enjoy!
If any pecan filling remains, it can be frozen for up to a month or kept in the refrigerator for up to a week to enjoy at a later occasion.
If you would like a neater or more professional finish, then feel free to use a knife and cut on all four sides of the store-bought puff pastry pieces.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the puff pastry roll to ensure that they no not include any vital information to achieve best results (such as baking temperature).
If using a jam that includes chunky pieces of apricot, feel free to sieve the glaze mixture prior to brushing on to the pastries to achieve a smooth finish.
Using a Grade 2 maple syrup will provide a deeper and more robust maple taste.
Base recipe adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)
Makes approximately 18 – 20 squares.
Icing sugar (for dusting)
For the Shortbread Base
227g unsalted butter (room temperature)
110g caster sugar
Seeds from half of a vanilla pod
1/8 tsp salt
280g plain flour (sieved)
For the Lemon Filling
6 extra-large eggs (room temperature)
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
230ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
660g caster sugar
140g plain flour (sieved)
Instructions: (Shortbread Base)
Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla pod and salt until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.
Sieve the plain flour and add to your mixture. Using a spatula or the lowest setting on your electric mixer combine the flour into the mixture until just incorporated.
Gather the dough and make into a ball.
Put the dough into a lined 9 x 13 by 2-inch baking pan, using floured hands flatten the shortbread base until evenly distributed.
Prick the dough all over using a fork, this will help any trapped air escape.
Chill the dough in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes.
Whilst the dough chills in the fridge, preheat your oven to 175°C.
Once chilled, bake your shortbread crust in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until very lightly browned.
Leave to cool on a wire rack, meanwhile make the lemon filling.
Instructions: (Lemon Filling)
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and plain flour until well combined.
Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread base.
Cover with foil.
Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Remove kitchen foil and let it bake uncovered for the last remaining 10 minutes until the filling is set.
Leave to cool completely on a wire rack prior to cutting.
Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before enjoying.
Extra-large eggs are sometimes also known as ”very large eggs” in supermarkets.
When trying to determine whether or not the filling is set; it is important to mention that a slight jiggle in the middle is normal. Once the lemon bars are fully cooled this should help the filling completely set.
Avoid baking this recipe in a loose-bottomed pan as this can sometimes lead to the filling leaking!