A biscuit recipe twice in as many weeks. We’re on a roll! This week, I’ve made a batch of delicious fig rolls… nothing like those dry horrors you tend to get in the shops. The pastry is buttery, crumbly and melt in the mouth; the filling is sweet, figgy and boozy – just lovely!
Jacobs is the brand that most people in the UK associate with fig rolls. Americans have Fig Newtons and the French, Figolu.
There’s a fair amount of debate online on the subject of, “Fig rolls: slice before or after baking?”. I decided to conduct my own experiment to find out.
I’ve decided that I prefer them to be sliced before. The pastry is neater and the fig filling softly oozes using this method.
Disagree with my opinion? Have a look at my photographic proof below! The two on the left were sliced prior to cooking and the pair on the right, after.
If you’ve given industrially manufactured fig rolls a try, not liked them and have turned your back on them – try making your own. Believe me, you’ll wonder what took you so long to embrace them!
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- 75g/2⅔oz plain wholemeal flour
- 25g/¾oz ground almonds
- ½tsp baking powder
- 2tsp caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 140g/5oz cold butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk
- 2tbsp milk
- 200g/7oz dried figs, stems removed, roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2tbsp dark rum
- 2tbsp water
- 2tbsp muscovado sugar
- ½tsp mixed spice
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl or food processor
- Pulse/rub in the butter to make crumbs
- Mix in the egg yolk and just enough milk to bring it together into a coherent dough
- shape into a rough rectangle, wrap and chill for about ½ an hour
- In a small saucepan, bring the figs 2 tbsp water, 2tbsp dark rum, lemon juice, sugar and spice to a simmer. Cook gently for a few minutes until softened
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pastry out to around 20cmx30cm and ½cm thick. Cut in half lengthwise to make 2 long strips
- Put a line of filling down one side of each, leaving a slight gap between it and the edge
- Brush the edge with water and fold the pastry over the top of the filling pressing down gently to seal
- Cut into 4cm lengths and arrange on the baking sheet
- Brush the tops with beaten egg before baking for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating
It’s been a while since biscuits were featured in our Thursday Cakes & Bakes post, so we started listing the shop-bought biscuits we purchase regularly for potential ideas. Hobnobs sprang to mind – both plain and chocolate coated varieties. Lots of other people must like them too as Hobnobs always make the top ten list for Britain’s favourite biscuit. So today we have a home-made version of this classic brew accompaniment.
It’s a very straightforward recipe and method… and a short cooking time. You could rustle up a batch in the time it takes to get to the shop!
The resulting biscuits are golden brown and very delicious indeed. We left half plain and covered half in chocolate to cater for both preferences. Just one last decision – tea or coffee.
- 140g/5oz butter
- 140g/5oz sugar
- 1tbs milk
- 1tsp golden syrup
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 140g/5oz self-raising flour
- 110g/4oz porridge oats
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale & fluffy
- Beat in the milk, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda
- Stir in the flour and oats, combining well
- Divide and shape into 25-30 equal-sized balls (about a desertspoon-ful of dough for each) rolling between the palms of your hands
- Place 5cm/2" apart on the prepared baking sheet - they spread out a lot during cooking!
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool
- Store in an airtight container
Are you a biscuit dunker? I’ve never been one for dipping my biscuits into hot liquid. However, these cranberry almond biscotti have made me change my ways!
I’ve seen biscotti being produced on the Great British Bake Off but I’ve never tried my hand at making a batch.
Biscotti are Italian, twice-baked almond biscuits usually served with Vin Santo – a dessert wine from the same region of Tuscany. It’s this liquid that you dip your biscuit into before eating – I’ve only tried it with coffee so far – but give me time!
The traditional recipe is flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts and almonds. However, there are updated versions that include an array of ingredients such as dried fruit, hazelnuts, pistachios, spices, lemon, coffee and chocolate.
Biscotti is the plural of biscotto but I’ve never heard that term in my life. Perhaps it’s because it’s impossible to eat just one!
Researching recipes, I discovered that there is such a thing as a biscotti tin. I don’t think I’ll be making biscotti often enough to warrant getting one – I used my 18cm/7-inch square brownie tin and it was more than adequate at tackling the job.
For its second bake, I sliced and transferred the cranberry almond biscotti on to a baking sheet and used stainless steel knives (don’t use knives with wood or plastic handles) to prop them up on their sides.
- 70g/2½oz butter, melted
- 135g/4¾oz granulated sugar
- ½tsp salt
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 120g/4oz plain flour
- 120g/4oz semolina flour
- 115g/4oz dried cranberries
- 115g/4oz chopped almonds
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/ Gas mark 4
- Grease a biscotti pan or large baking sheet
- Stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt and baking powder
- Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs
- Blend in the flours, cranberries and almonds
- Place into the prepared biscotti pan, leaving a 2cm/¾-inch margin free on each side of the pan, to allow for expansion. If you're using a baking sheet, form the dough into a flattened log about 28 x 10cm (10½ x 4 inches).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour
- Slice on the diagonal into 4cm/½-inch thick pieces. Place them back on the baking sheet, standing them on edge if you can; this will ensure they bake evenly
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack
- They can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks
We absolutely love our butter in this household, it’s quite alarming how much of the stuff two people get through! With all the bread and cake baking, it’s not surprising, really.
When I saw this butter-licious, American butter-dipped biscuits recipe on Pinterest my mouth immediately started watering.
It may look like a lot of butter but it isn’t really – a mere 113 grams (that’s how much is in an American ‘stick’ of butter). Anyway, it’s been decided by all those hugely intelligent scientists that butter isn’t bad for you!
You’ve probably noticed from the photos that it’s not anything like what the average British person would call a ‘biscuit’. American biscuits are what we over here might refer to as scones (whether you pronounce it to rhyme with ‘gone’ or ‘bone’).
I had one with a fried egg (as you can see in the main photo), and another with some mature cheddar. I must say, I’m not used to having savoury food with a sweet bread product – it took a bit of getting used to, but I’d definitely be making them again.
If you’re not vegetarian like me, try them with chilli con carne, sausages, bacon & eggs – especially if the meats are sweet-cured or maple-glazed. Or, have it like the Americans do, with even more butter as a side to a main course dish and/or with gravy!
- 113g/4oz salted butter
- 300g/10½oz plain flour
- 1½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 1½ tbsp baking powder
- 250g/9oz buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/ gas mark 8
- In a microwave-safe bowl (or the dish the biscuits are being cooked in if it's microwave-safe) melt the butter in the microwave
- Put the melted butter into an 20cmx20cm/8"x8" baking dish
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder
- Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a loose dough forms
- Pour the biscuit dough into the baking dish (on top of the melted butter.) Some of the butter will run over the top of the dough, that's perfectly fine
- Cook for 20-25 minutes (rotating the dish 180º once during baking) - the biscuits should be golden brown on top and spring back to the touch
Whenever the biscuit stash in our store cupboard reaches critical levels there are normally two obvious options to remedy the situation. Firstly, I can whip out a pre-made refrigerator cookie dough roll from the freezer. Alternatively, if the frozen stock is depleted, I can whip up a quick batch of shortbread.
Justin bought me this vintage wooden biscuit mould a few weeks ago, so it was a great opportunity to use it for the first time to make some shortbread rounds.
We think the mould might be Indian so we’ve added a few spices in homage – cardamom, ginger and vanilla.
The swirl pattern it makes is just beautiful – I needed to sprinkle some polenta into the mould so the dough didn’t stick and it also helped with the definition.
We liked all three flavours. And it has to be said that, if we hadn’t been trying to think of suitable Indian spices for biscuits, we probably would never have tried cardamom shortbread – yet we both thought that it was very successful. I’ll definitely be making these again soon!
- 175g/6oz/¾ cup plain flour
- 50g/2oz/½ cup cornflour
- 50g/2oz/¼ caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 115g/4oz/½ cup butter, chopped
- 1 cardamom seed, removed from the pod and ground
- ¼ tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Lightly flour the mould with semolina (or plain flour if you don't have it) and line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper
- Sift the flour, cornflour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour & sugar mixture until it binds together and you can knead it into a soft dough
- Divide the dough into thirds (130g/4½oz each) and gently knead the ground cardamom into one, vanilla into the next and ground ginger into the last
- One by one, place each ⅓ of dough into the mould and press to fit neatly and evenly. Invert the mould on to the baking sheet using your fingers if necessary to gently to release the dough shape
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pale golden in colour
- Sprinkle the top of the shortbread with a little caster sugar and cool on a baking sheet
- Cut the rounds into 'petticoat tails' whilst still warm
Making these Viennese fingers made me realise just how poor my piping skills are! 🙂
Not just that, but also a reminder of how cold our kitchen is – it’s a rubbish environment for doing things things like proving bread and sourdough starter. The biscuit dough cooled and hardened inside the piping bag making it a nightmare to squeeze out through the nozzle. My first batch was a disaster! I piped them out to the 10cm that was stated in the recipe but they seemed way too long. They were also too thin and weedy. My second batch were better, I piped them to 5cm and the dough was beginning to warm up a little so flowed more smoothly. But I still have to put in some more practice.
As well as dunking the Viennese fingers in chocolate, you can dip them into chopped mixed nuts or dessicated coconut. But take care when you’re doing it – these are so crumbly they break easily (as I found out quite a few times).
Having mentioned a few problems, the resulting biscuits were both pretty and delicious. We’ll have to have a few delicate afternoon tea breaks this week!
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 25g/1oz icing sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 100g/3½oz plain flour
- 1tsp cornflour
- ¼tsp baking powder
- 100g/3½oz milk chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
- Tip the butter and sugar into the bowl of a free-standing mixer and beat until pale and light
- Add the vanilla extract and mix again
- Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into the bowl and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle and pipe 5cm-long fingers onto the prepared baking tray. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until pale golden
- Remove from the oven and cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes
- Transfer the cookies to a wire rack until completely cold
- Tip the milk chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt either in the microwave on a low setting or over a pan of barely simmering water
- Remove from the heat and stir until smooth
- Dip both ends of the Viennese fingers into the chocolate and leave to set on baking parchment