Posted in Holiday Cuisine, Home Baking, Sweets for the Sweet

In Which the Blogger Takes Her Shortbread to a New Level…

Sweet, crumbly, and surprisingly good for you~!
Sweet, crumbly, and surprisingly good for you~!

Long-time readers know I love shortbread – both the baking of it and the eating of it.  I love how easy it is to bung out a fresh batch whenever a craving hits and how widely available it is in my part of the world.  I love how you could eat it on its own and how you can slather on ganache or Nutella or even orange (or lemon) zest-infused cream cheese on top.  And I also love how you can tweak the ingredients to make it a bit healthier yet just as tasty as the fully-loaded original.

Towards the tail-end of the Holiday season, I gave my favorite toffee bar (chocolate-topped shortbread bars) recipe a different sort of twist.  The base is now richer-tasting due to the use of salted butter instead of margarine and the texture is now moreishly crumbly because of a mix of wheat flour, cornstarch, and glutinous rice flour (mochiko).  To add further oomph to this dessert, a layer of creamy peanut butter goes on after baking before  the chocolate is scattered over the top to melt.  Honey-roasted sunflower seeds add little popping bites of sweet, salty crunch to the finished product.

These fantasy bars went over well with friends and relatives as both presents and as part of a family buffet on Christmas day.  I’ve no doubts that you and your family will enjoy these, as well.  😉

Fantasy Bars

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • generous 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted sunflower kernels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish or a standard cookie sheet; set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract; mix until well combined.  Add the flours in 1/4 cup batches and mix until a soft dough is achieved.

Press the dough into the prepared dish or cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Evenly spread the peanut butter over the surface of the shortbread base and scatter the chocolate over the top .  Return to the oven and bake for an additional five minutes.  Remove from oven and smooth the now-melted chocolate over the base until evenly covered.  Scatter the sunflower kernels evenly over the chocolate topping.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes approximately 36 to 40 squares.


Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

One thought on “In Which the Blogger Takes Her Shortbread to a New Level…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s