Requires: Food processor (alternatively, use electric beaters), 2 shallow baking trays, 8cm heart shaped biscuit cutter
Use a food processor to beat the butter, castor sugar, eggs, vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt until combined. Alternatively, use an electric mixer.
Transfer the butter and sugar mixture from the food processor to a large bowl. Gradually stir the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture until just combined. As the dough forms, you will need to use your hands. Transfer to a clean work bench and knead until smooth.
Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.
Cover the biscuit dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Tip: If cooking this recipe on a warm day, refrigerate the biscuits for a further 10 minutes before baking.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C conventional oven (356° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Adjust metal racks to the middle groove of the oven. Prepare 2 baking trays lined with baking mats (or baking paper).
Remove the dough from the fridge. Divide into two portions. Roll one portion of the dough onto non-stick baking paper or a separate silicone baking mat to a thickness of 1cm. Use a 8cm heart shaped biscuit cutter to cut heart shaped biscuits. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking trays approximately 2cm apart. Reroll and shape the excess dough, then repeat the process using the second portion of dough.
Bake, one tray at a time in the oven for 12 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely – buon appetito!