Biscuits a.k.a cookies, I love them (except custard creams, they’re rank), and whereas I’m terribly snobby about shop bought cake, I’m just as happy with a mass produced biccie as a homemade one.
I suppose my signature biscuit would have to be a Cornish Fairing. Homemade they are crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, with a warm spicy flavour. They have great sentimental value too because I made them for the first time one summer holiday, with my dear departed Grandmother, aged nine or ten (me, not Granny). The recipe was copied into a recipe folder she had given me for Christmas and I’ve been making them ever since.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with spices other than ginger, aniseed worked well, and even crumbled Daim bar http://www.butteredcrumbs.co.uk/?p=202 But today I give you the original recipe in all it’s unadulterated glory.
- 6oz self raising flour
- a pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice (apple pie spice)
- 3 oz butter
- 3 oz brown sugar
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 200ºc / 180 fan. Grease a couple of baking trays.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, ginger and spice into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
If it’s a cold day you will need to warm the syrup to make it runny, otherwise just drizzle it into the bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon till it starts to clump, then use your hands to knead it into a smooth dough. Add a small drop of milk or water if the mixture seems too dry.
Break off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut and roll them into a ball. Place well apart on the baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before trying to get them off the tray, they are very soft when they come out of the oven but harden fairly quickly. Cool on a wire rack.
Did you know? Biscuit comes from the French for “twice baked” because the first biscuits were just pieces of bread hardened off in the oven.