Festive Shortbread with Dulce De Leche

There’s nothing better than snuggling up in front of the fireplace on Christmas eve with a plate of shortbread biscuits and a cup of tea. This shortbread recipe is ridiculously easy and only uses icing sugar so there’s none of that horrible grainy texture you get with some sugary biscuits – I always seem to inhale it and choke a bit. These are light, buttery biscuits glued together with a rich, oozing dulce de leche middle. Bear with me with the dulce de leche, you might think I’m mental when I tell you how I made it but it’s totally delicious…
Shortbread

For 40 shortbread halves which are then buddied up into 20 shortbread sandwiches, you will need –

An over at 180c
225g of plain flour
55g of sifted icing/confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons of corn flour
150g of butter, left out on the side to soften up
1 dribble of vanilla extract
1 small can of condensed milk

In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Sift the flour and corn flour into the creamy mixture and combine with a wooden spoon before getting your (clean) hands in the bowl to bring together a soft, shortbread dough.
Place the dough onto a baking tray size piece of greaseproof paper and pop a second piece on the top to roll out the dough in the middle.
Place this onto a baking tray and refrigerate for about 45 minutes with the paper still sandwiching the dough.

Whilst the dough chills, you can start to make the dulce de leche –
20131201-184103.jpgFill the biggest pan that you have, preferably a casserole pot, with cold water and place the unopened and undented can of condensed milk inside, ensuring that it’s completely submerged in the water. Turn the hob on high, put a lid on the pot and bring the water to the boil for around 75 minutes. Keep checking that the can is still covered with the water and add more if necessary.
After 75 minutes, take the pot off of the hob and remove the lid. Let the water cool down for about 20 minutes before removing the can with a pair of tongs. DO NOT OPEN THE CAN WHILST IT’S STILL HOT UNLESS YOU’RE SUICIDAL. Once the can has cooled right down, carefully open to reveal a dark, golden caramel colour dulche de leche ready to smother across the shortbreads.

Back to the shortbread dough – Out of the fridge after 45 minutes, use a small cookie cutter of around 4-5cm in diameter to press out rounds of shortbread leaving as little dough wasted as possible.
Using the same two sheets of greaseproof paper, line two baking trays with approximately 20 small shortbreads on each and bake for about 12 minutes until lovely and golden on top.
Turn out onto a wire rack and once cool, spread one half of the shortbreads with the dulche de leche and pair up with the plain ones.
Make a cup of tea, have a sit down and enjoy.
Store the biccies in a tin or Tupperware and they’re good to eat for a few more days. You’ll be left with some extra dulce de leche which can be enjoyed by the teaspoonful or be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks and use again.

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