1.Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat; add chocolate, stir until smooth. Stand for 3 hours or until cooled to room temperature.
2.Meanwhile, using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Save bean for another use.
3.Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and essence. Stir in sifted flour until a dough just forms.
4.Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, tint pink; knead dough until smooth and evenly coloured. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
5.Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line three oven trays with baking paper.
6.Roll dough between sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using the cutter, cut out rounds from dough. Place 3cm apart on trays. Using fingertips, pinch the base of each round to form a strawberry shape, then push the rounded end of a clove into half of the strawberry shapes.
7.Bake cookies for 10 minutes or when a cookie is gently pushed it moves without breaking. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool.
8.Spoon 1 teaspoon white chocolate filling onto each cookie without a clove. Spoon remaining filling into a paper piping bag; snip end. Pipe tiny dots to resemble seeds over remaining cookies; place on top of filling. Refrigerate to set.
Place the unused vanilla bean in a jar of caster sugar to make your own vanilla sugar.Note