These enchanting little chocolate and vanilla cookies are an absolute novelty, and worth the technical challenge! We like to nibble them square by square.
Makes about 32 biscuits
- 180 g (61/2 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 150 g (51/2 oz/2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 485 g (1 lb 1 oz/31/4 cups) plain (al-purpose) flour
- a pinch of salt
- 21/2 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using electric beaters until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla and until well combined. Add the orange zest, flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the milk and mix until just combined —this is easiest done by hand. Don’t knead the dough – mix it as minimally as possible.
Halve the mixture into two portions and place in separate bowls. Add the cocoa powder and remaining milk to one portion and mix until combined. Roll each portion out between two sheets of baking paper to make two 16 cm (61/4 inch) squares, about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to harden.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Have a cup of water ready for dipping your fingers in to help ‘glue’ the biscuits together. Cut each of the biscuits squares into eight 1 cm (1/2 inch) wide strips. Place 4 strips of alternating colours of pastry next to each other, gluing the strips together with water (like using slip in pottery). Repeat for another three layers, but reversing the order each time so you have alternating colours, like a checkerboard. You will end up with two long 4 x 4 logs.
Place the logs into the freezer for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to cut. Slice the logs into individual biscuits, about 5–10 mm (2–4 inch) thick, depending on your preference (thin and crispy or thick and soft). Arrange on the baking tray at least 1 cm (1/2 inch) apart, and bake for about 10–15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown a little. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.