Going Grey

Earl grey ice cream and shortbread

Lately, I have dreamt in custard. Lying in bed last night, I could have sworn I could smell the faint boozy hum of vanilla, the richness of eggs and cream. It’s not surprising. Over the last month, custard and I have become pretty well – if reluctantly – acquainted.

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Cranachan Shortbread Sandwich

Cranachan shortbread

It may seem churlish to find a problem with cranachan; as if I’m trawling perfectly acceptable British classics, and picking holes in them. But I promise you this isn’t change for change’s sake.

This isn’t desconstructing a crumble or reconstructing an eton mess or, god forbid, spiralising sprouts for your Christmas lunch. Really, it is enabling cranachan consumption. I will come clean: I am a cranachan enabler. This recipe simply provides a buttery, crumbly vehicle to enable you to eat more cranachan, quicker.

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Honey and Sea Salt Shortbread

Honey shortbread

I have become obsessed with tiny kitchen miracles: little, unassuming, simple recipes, that for whatever reason become so much greater than the sum of their parts. A paltry number of ingredients that give way to deliciousness or complexity that almost defies reason. This shortbread is a tiny kitchen miracle.

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Flopsy, Mopsy, Coconut Tail and Peter

Bunny biscuits

Is it possible for silly little bunny-shaped biscuits with fluffy tails to be elegant? Probably not. But I’m confident that this is the closest we’ll ever get.

I am irreparably clumsy and lacking in artistic talent in and out of the kitchen. Since I started baking, this has really irritated me. When I’m cooking comforting, hearty meals, it’s not really a problem; no one ever expects an oxtail stew to look like anything other than an oxtail stew. But sweet bakes are a different kettle of fish. These biscuits are my secret weapon. If you can scatter glitter over pritt stick, you can make these biscuits look utterly charming.

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