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Monday, 13 January 2014

St(h)ealthy biscuits!

Of all the things that my girls enjoy baking, biscuits must be at the top of the list.  From being very small, they have both loved rolling out the dough, choosing the cutters, pressing the cutters into dough to make wonderful shapes and - most of all - eating the biscuits when they're baked!

We've got quite a collection of cutters now - some we've bought ourselves, others were given to us, and a couple we've picked up on our travels from places like Scotland and even Canada!  We keep them in an old metal biscuit tin and it's pretty much full now - but it doesn't stop me eyeing up new cutters when I can, like these fantastic ninja gingerbread men!  

Small daughter had a friend over to play on Saturday afternoon and they didn't take much encouragement to come into the kitchen to make biscuits. Now, I have to confess that I did have a bit of an ulterior motive as I wanted to try out a new biscuit recipe, but the girls didn't mind and were soon busy choosing cutters from our tin ...


This is just some of our collection, and someone better at photography than me would have avoided the shine on the worktop, but you can still see that the girls had plenty to choose from!  They decided not to use the Christmas ones, or ones that were very small, or ones that seemed too boring (round) and we weren't making gingerbread men, but we still seemed to end up with plenty of different shapes!

I'm calling these biscuits Stealthy Healthy biscuits (or St(h)ealthy for short!) because not only do they have brown sugar in them, they also have brown flour in them.  They're based on a recipe that my Mum came up with many years ago so these are the biscuits I always ate as a child, with some slight tweakings of the weights to make a biscuit that holds its shape well in the oven.  I wanted to know if the girls would notice the ingredients were different without me telling them so I must confess that they didn't see me weigh out the flour, although I didn't use too much brown this first time - about 2 oz out of the total 10 oz.

St(h)ealthy Biscuits

10 oz plain flour (white, brown or mixed to your own choice)
5 oz butter or margarine
5 oz brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg


I'm afraid I'm far too lazy to be creaming butter and sugar and folding in flour so I just put it all in the food processor and whizz it up until the ingredients are combined and the dough has changed to a pale colour.  If it's a bit stiff, add a little milk to soften it up.


That's all there is to the dough - simple, eh?  Remove from the food processor and put it on a floured surface.  You'll need to knead the dough lightly to create a ball ready to roll out.

This is the point where I expected one of the girls to point out that the dough wasn't the usual colour; even the little bit of brown flour that I'd used had coloured the dough slightly - but nothing was said so we got on with the serious business of rolling out and cutting shapes.


There was much debate about how many of each shape they should make, who should press where and which one they were going to eat first.  I had to keep reminding them to make the shapes as close together as they could otherwise we'd only have got about three biscuits out of each rolling!


Soon, our first batch was ready to go into the oven.  Had the girls noticed any difference now?  Er ... no.


They had much more important things to think about, such as whether they would actually get two moose (mooses?) out of the dough.  We'd already decided they were a bit big but in a last minute change of plan, the cutter was hoiked out of the box and two moose made it onto the baking tray.  Cheers all round - but had anyone noticed these moose were slightly browner even before they went into the oven?  Er ... no.

Into the oven at 180° for about 10 minutes (bottom set of runners for Aga users) and soon we had a rack full of crunchy, munchy biscuits that were just too good to resist.  Brown sugar doesn't dissolve as completely as white so the biscuits were quite speckled, but did anyone notice they looked different?  Er ... no.


In fact, all the girls were worried about was how soon it would be before they could each eat their moose biscuits, and from the happy munching noises that could be heard, there were certainly no complaints that the biscuits might taste any different.


So all in all, I think this proves that point that children don't necessarily question what you're putting in the food, especially if they don't see it.  This has already worked brilliantly for me by pureeing vegetables to put into sauces and pies, but I'm delighted that it seems to work with biscuits as well. You can choose exactly what proportion of white to brown flour you use, and I might well use a bit more next time, but I don't expect there to be any complaints!

If you'd like to have a go for yourself, here's the recipe again.  It's a basic biscuit recipe so you can add anything you like - 1 or 2 tsp of ginger instead of the vanilla essence for gingerbread men depending on how gingery you like them, cinnamon and mixed spice for Christmas biscuits, raisins, chocolate chips, fruit - anything you can imagine can go into a biscuit!  Do let me know how you get on!


St(h)ealthy Biscuits (makes around 30 biscuits depending on cutter size)

10 oz plain flour (white, brown or mixed to your own choice)
5 oz butter or margarine
5 oz brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is pale and creamy.  If you don't have a food processor, cream the butter (margarine) and sugar until combined then add the egg, flour and vanilla essence to create a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a thickness of approx ½ cm.  We like our biscuits quite thick but you can make them any size you like - just remember that thinner biscuits will cook more quickly.

Cut the dough into shapes (use a glass if you don't have cutters) and place on a baking tray.  Bake at 180°C for about 10 minutes, turning the tray if necessary during the cooking time to stop the biscuits getting too brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack




2 comments:

  1. love the cutters, i see some that we have and great cookies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Helen! I think I was slightly addicted to buying cutters at one point - I had to make a conscious effort to stop!

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