Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Biscuits for Mothers Day

I made these batches of biscuits to send home for my Mum for Mothers Day as I wanted to send her something homemade rather than sending a standard bunch of flowers.

Cinnamon & Spice Swirls
(Adapted from Rachel Allen in Good Food Magazine)
I invented these cinnamon & spice swirls as my Mum loves those cinnamon pastry swirls that you can buy from bakeries and I wanted to see if I could replicate them in biscuit form. I found a basic stable biscuit recipe and then rolled it out thinly before sprinkling over the flavours and rolling it up to form the swirls. I am pleased to say they turned out well, maybe not as strongly spiced as I would have liked but tasty nonetheless.

175g plain flour
110g butter or margarine
60g caster sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
2 tsp extra caster sugar

Place the butter, sugar and flour into a mixing bowl and cream together until it starts to form crumbs.
Then bring the dough together using your hands.
Roll out the dough to 5mm thick between two sheets of cling film (it prevents it sticking to the work surface). Try to make it as square in shape as possible.
Remove the top sheet of cling film and sprinkle over the spices followed by the extra sugar.
Using the cling film to help you, roll up the dough as if you were making a swiss roll. You should end up with a long thin sausage shape.
Wrap in cling film and place on a tray in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and carefully unwrap the cling film.
Using a sharp knife cut 5mm thick slices and place them flat onto a dry baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until just turning golden.
Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrap.
They will still be a little soft, but they crisp up on cooling.

Makes 24 biscuits.

Simnel Marzipan Mounds
I created these biscuits in the hope of replicating a traditional simnel cake in a more post-able form. They have the same dried fruit mix and spices added to the biscuit dough as the cake and also have a small disc of marzipan baked into their centre. I used Rachel Allen’s basic biscuits recipe again for these biscuits, only this time I halved the recipe and added the dried fruit and spices to the dough. Adding the disc of marzipan can be a little fiddly and when they bake the marzipan can sometimes burst out of the top, making them not the most attractive biscuits to look at but the flavour is defiantly worth it. The marzipan stays soft and moist and the fruit really makes these biscuits taste like simnel cake. Yummy.

80g plain flour
55g butter or margarine
30g caster sugar
¼ tsp mixed spice
25g currants
25g dried apricots
15g glace cherries
55g marzipan

Place the butter, sugar, mixed spice and flour into a mixing bowl and cream together until it starts to form crumbs.
Then finely chop the dried apricots and glace cherries and add to the crumb mixture along with the currants.
Using your hands, bring the mixture together and form into a ball.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and flatten each one into a rough round using the base of your hand.
Take a marble sized piece of marzipan and roll it into a small ball before flattering it slightly to form a disc.
Place this disc into the centre of the flattened dough and draw the edges of the dough up around the marzipan. Turn the dough over the flatten it gentle to close up the seams.
Place the doughy mound on a dry baking sheet and repeat with the leftover dough.
Bake the biscuits in the oven for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrack and leaving to cool.

Makes 12 mounds.

I then packaged the biscuits into cellophane bags and added little labels before posting them home. I was very pleased to hear that they survived the post very well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea with the cinnamon swirls! Can't wait to try them out.