Sunday 1 April 2012

Afternoon Tea Biscuits

This year I promised myself that I'd start to make different things. There are some areas of baking that I've avoided because I've thought:
a - it's too hard
b - I can't be bothered
c - it's boring

I have convinced myself that all of the above can be overcome by practice, enthusiasm and a bit of creativity. A few weeks ago I stumbled across these beautiful cutters in Thyme Deli in Horwich. 
Perfect! They look pretty, but serve a purpose. Nemesis number two... biscuits (number one being pastry). I've never really had a love affair with biscuits. Don't get me wrong, I love eating them, but baking them gives me a touch of the heebie-jeebies. It's all a bit like hard work. The rubbing in, the resting, the rolling... It reminds me of pastry. However, biscuits are also a challenge. Cutters in hand and a good dose of 'get up and go' and I was on it like the proverbial 'car bonnet'.

I decided to use the teapot and cup for my biscuits, although any cutters will do for this recipe, as the size isn't critical. I adapted the one that came with the cutters.

  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 80g cold butter 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • About 200g of sugar-paste in your preferred colour
  • Your choice of decorations (if any)

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the dry mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the beaten egg and golden syrup.
  • Mix together until it forms a dough (this may take a few minutes).
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170 c.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to about 5mm thick.
  • Cut out the cookies, lifting with a spatula. The handles may need a little gentle coaxing with a round knife.
  • Place onto two baking trays lined with baking parchment and cook in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes. The cookies should look a pale golden colour.

  • When the cookies are cooled, cover your work-surface with a little icing sugar. 
  • Warm the sugar-paste slightly by moulding it in your hands.
  • Roll it out to about 3mm thick and cut out the shape using the same cookie cutters (this is much easier to lift off the work surface, but a spatula helps!) 
  • Your sugar-paste will fit perfectly on top of your biscuit.
  • Decorate with what ever you like, but I think these look quite elegant without too much faff. I used Asda's pink and white pearls.


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