- Food and Cooking
Simple Biscuit Recipe
A Good Reason to Bake Biscuits
It is impossible to not notice the huge increase in the cost of food, or in some cases, the costs has stayed the same - but the amount you get is a fraction of what it used to be :(
I have two small boys, so biscuits are a necessity, a biscuit can avoid a argument when a child is tired at school pick up time, and the can distract from cuts and bruises like nothing else! But biscuits have got expensive, or at least the ones which are not full of colourings and flavourings....
The answer is definitely to bake your own. This is a great way to get through a rainy afternoon, and produces amazing biscuits.
Keep Biscuits Interesting
There is nothing worse than not being inspired by a biscuit, if you have the same biscuit all the time it just gets boring and you don't enjoy them after a while. Hence it is really important to have different biscuits every week.
I have found the perfect biscuit recipe - and trust me I tested a lot before I got to this one. I don't like biscuits which leave that slightly 'greasy' sensation in your mouth. In my books the perfect biscuit should have a slight crunch and then dissolve into a subtle flavour.
When we are having guests over, or it is a special holiday, Christmas or Easter, then we have really pretty biscuits. The picture above was the first batch of Christmas cookies for Christmas 2012 (and yes we really did make those, they are not a photo of the internet).
Just yesterday my eldest son was at a sports club and the weather was grey, so my five year old and I made biscuits (photo below). He assure me that one of them is a picture of cavemen standing around a dead mole! Children have an unlimited imagination and it is amazing what they create with some raisins and a bit of biscuit dough. After making the biscuits we headed up to the kids room to look up and read about cavemen, so the activity even had a slight educational slant to it.
- 300 g self raising flour
- 125 g icing or fine sugar
- 150 g butter
- 1 egg
- Pop your flour and sugar in the mixer and turn on, add the butter in small pits and mix until crumbly. Then add the egg.
- Once you have a smooth dough chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and then roll, cut and cook at gas mark 4. It couldn't be easier.
- I make the biscuits quite thin, so I only cook them for 8 mins. If you want a thicker biscuit you may have to cook as long as 18 mins.
So you have the basic recipe - here are some of the extras which I have done and found to be a great success.
I have added all types of different dried fruit to these and almost all of them were a great success, but some were requested by the kids over and over again. In the winter I always stock up on dried cranberries and dried cherries (I use them in a rather fun mince pie recipe - but that is for another day), and both of these added to the dough mixture are delicious.
I tried adding crushed nuts to the mixture which was nice, but I wasn't completely happy with it, but the almond one was amazing. I added half a teaspoon of almond essence to the mixture. Once the dough was rolled,ready for cutting, I sprinkled crushed, flaked almonds on the top, then gently ran the rolling pin over them one last time to get them slightly 'stuck' in. Cut them out and bake as usually - perfect and great served with coffee after dinner.
Every biscuit recipe has a chocolate variation. The easter bunny got a bit carried away this year and bought more eggs than I had time to hide in the garden, so I had to 'dispose' of the remainder without the kids seeing (it would have looked a little strange if the mummy had the same eggs in the baking cupboard as the Easter bunny delivered). So I popped some in the mixer with the biscuit mix and got some rather yummy biscuits.
Rather awkwardly for me, my eldest doesn't hugely like 'brown' chocolate, he is a white chocolate fan, but this doesn't look as nice in the biscuits as it just sort of blends in - but these biscuits are great when coated in it. Simply melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water and simply dollop it on the top of each biscuit, use a pallet knife dipped in hot water to smooth it out and they are perfect. I don't fully coat them as it makes them REALLY sweet.
After Dinner Treats
At the end of a big meal a biscuit may not seem too appealing, but this recipe lends itself to after dinner treats. I simply cut the biscuit rounds really small, then I make a chocolate butter and stick two together. If you have a dark or deep coloured serving plate, arrange them on these, sprinkle with a touch of icing sugar and they go amazingly with a strong black coffee.
Easy to Make and Yummy to Eat
We have lavender in our garden and this year I decided to make lavender sugar for my biscuits (cookies).
The evening before I wanted to make the biscuits I measured out the sugar and added dried lavender to it, then I left it in a sealed tupperware until the morning.
In the morning I sieved the sugar to remove the lavender buds. Then made the biscuits as usual.
Once the biscuit pate was made I added some of the lavender flowers I had removed. I did this by eye, I didn't want so many that the biscuits looked unattractive, and I didn't was so few that it looked like I had trapped an ant in it. You will know when you have got the perfect amount.
The reason to add these at the end is that if you are using a food processor, your food processor will mash up the lavender buds and they won't look so nice, adding them at the end means that they will still be in tact.
The biscuits were a great success - another easy variation!!!
Frosting Recipe - Organic and Red
As you have probably realised I try to avoid anything shop bought, so when I discovered this recipe I had to give it a go!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely grated beets
- mashed with a fork
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scrapings of one vanilla bean pod
- 1 -2 teaspoons milk
- depending on desired consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- This couldn't be easier - stick it all in the food processor. The colour of this is amazing - I use it to stick two of the biscuits together, the kids love it.
Biscuit Tools - Everything you need to make the perfect biscuit
You will probably find that you have some or all of these, but I am going to put a complete list here, as there is nothing more irritating than discovering half way through a recipe that you could have made your life easier.
This is a lovely one, it will serve all your kitchen food processing requirements. A friend of mine has it and it works fabulously. I don't think they still make the one I have, it is a Kenwood and has served me wonderfully, I did previously have a Moulinex - which I never took to. I think if you buy right at the bottom of the range the motors are not as good, so don't skimp too much, but you certainly don't need to spend a fortune on these.
I love marble rolling pins - the bit of extra weight means that you can get the job done a bit quicker ;)
I was a late convert to these - but they do save a lot of time and are definitely a worth while investment
These are brilliant - having the choice of smooth or round edge is really useful (if you are making two types which look similar then you can distinguish them by the edge)
How to Make a Paper Piping Bag
I used to use shop bought bags, then in a conversation with my mother she happened to mention that my grandfather, who was a trained baker and cake decorator, never used them - he made his own. As soon as she mentioned it, I remembered him making them. A quick look on youtube quickly reminded me of the system and I have never used a shop bought bag since. This is a far cheaper way to get them and they work perfectly. I also make slightly smaller ones for smaller hands, and then the little people of the family can have a go at piping as well.
Decorating Your Biscuits
If you want to make you biscuits look more like the ones at the top of this page you will need a few extra bits and pieces, so here goes (don't panic, they are all fairly cheap)
Every family should have some of these fun shapes, but if you look carefully you will see that you don't have the options of simple rounds in different styles, and these are essential, so you should really buy those as wel
Don't worry too much about these - you need a small holed one for piping the edges of a cookie before flooding it (I will add videos below to explain these), and slightly larger size for the flooding. I don't use the bags, I use grease proof paper and make my own (I'll add a video for that too)
If you are going to go the 'make your own bag - then these are fine
These are fine to use, they don't last for ever, but if you are smoothing out chocolate on a chocolate coated biscuit they do the job (you won't need them for the icing biscuits - check video below)
How to Decorate Your Biscuits
The biscuits at the top were decorated using the wet-on-wet technique, I have a slight change in the technique to make it suitable for the kids. I do the edging myself, then the kids 'flood' it. When they add the extra colours they drop it off the end of a chop stick. The reason for this is because it takes time for kids to swap between different piping bags and during that time the icing starts to dry and if they are more likely to drop some in the wrong place, and then they get upset. If you keep the icing fairly thin and then drop it on the desired spots it works just as well (as you can see), and then use a toothpick to finalise the design.
To Bake or Not To Bake
Has this page encouraged you to make your own biscuits?
Discover More of Our Family Pastimes ...
If you want to find more ideas about entertaining kids while teaching them to cook and garden check out my blog.
The Biscuits My Son Made Yesterday
I would love to know that I have converted just one person to having a go - if you think of anything which is missing and may stop people from giving this a go please let me know so I can add it.
Baking is amazing fun and a skill which so many of us forget to use