Thumbprint Biscuits

This is such a simple recipe, and perfect for kiddies to make.  Try your hand at this frugal, and exceedingly yummy recipe.  All in all, I think it cost approximately 45p to make 12 biscuits…

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Ingredients

50g butter – softened
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cap vanilla essence
100g plain flour
Jam / Nutella / Lemon Curd
Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line your baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Using the back of a large, wooden spoon, cream the butter in a large bowl, then add the sugar. Continue to cream together.
3. Add the egg yolk, and vanilla essence, and continue stirring with the wooden spoon.
4. Add the flour, part by part, and combine thoroughly. When it becomes difficult to mix, get your hands in there to form a dough ball.
5. “Pinch an inch”, and roll in to ball shapes. Place on the lined baking tray.
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6. Use your thumb, and press down in the middle of each ball, creating a well.
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7. Add a teaspoon full of your jam (or Nutella / lemon curd), ensuring that the mixture doesn’t overflow too much.
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8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
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9. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking tray for approximately 5 minutes or so, before placing them on a cooling wire rack.
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10. Enjoy!!
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Christmas Biscuits – no eggs

I have made this recipe time and time again, and when I come to make them again this morning, I realised that my eggs were TOTALLY out of date, so I decided to mix up the recipe a little to make them without any egg yolk.  They’ve come out a treat, and according to the hubby, these are the “best” I’ve ever made.

If I have calculated this correctly, the ingredient amounts below should make approximately 20 biscuits, and cost about 60p ($0.75).

Perfect for those family members and friends who have an egg allergy, try this out.

Ingredients

8oz (225g) butter – softened

4oz (115g) sugar (I used caster sugar, but standard, granulated is ok too)

Vanilla essence

5tbsp water

12oz (340g) plain flour

Hard boiled sweets (or hard boiled candies, if you live in the US)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (170°C for fan assisted).
  2. Line your baking sheets with grease proof / baking paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream your butter.  You should really use the back of a wooden spoon for this, but I continually used my electric hand mixer on a slow speed.
  4. Add the sugar, and cream in to the butter.
  5. Add the vanilla essence – I really went overboard with the amount I used, because we all love vanilla, but you should only really use a cap-full; and the water.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Start to combine the flour, bit by bit, until it becomes almost impossible to continue mixing, then combine the rest thoroughly with your hands.  Knead the dough a little in the bowl, to ensure it all sticks together.
  7. Turn the dough out on to a clean and floured surface, and roll out to approximately 1cm depths.
  8. Using your cookie cutters (I used a large gingerbread man cutter), cut out your biscuits, and place carefully on to the lined baking tray.  Repeat until you have used up all of your dough.
  9. Using a small cookie cutter (I used a small star this time), remove the “belly” / middle of each large man shape / biscuit.  With using the small star shape, I was able to use these for some regular, star-shaped biscuits for my Donut.
  10. Place a hard boiled sweet in to the middle of the cut-out you have just done (i.e. my star shape in the belly).
  11. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven, and – keeping the biscuits on the grease proof paper, remove the trays on to a cool surface.
  13. Allow to cool for approximately 30 minutes – or until the melted sweet has reset, and you now have the choice to either scoff the lot, or decorate!

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Shortbread & Coconut Shortbread

It’s Gnings’ last day in school tomorrow, as he is breaking up for Christmas.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come around!

I’ve been struggling for ideas on what he should give to his teacher, and two teaching assistants, as a gift for Christmas; and with money being a bit tight too (I’m still on maternity leave), I didn’t really want to spend a lot.  So I thought, everyone loves biscuits, so that’s what we’ll do.  And that’s what we did!

I think I managed to make about 50 stars, and 35 “gingerbread” biscuits.  The stars cost approx. 50p, and the “gingerbread” ones about 75p.

Here’s the recipe:~

125g butter, softened

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour (all-purpose)

OPTIONAL – (1tbsp desiccated coconut)

Drop of water

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (170C for fan assisted).
  2. Line a baking tray (or two) with greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together, using the back of a large, wooden spoon.
  4. Sift in all of the flour, in one go, and stir it all together using the spoon (this is also the part where you will add the coconut – if you are going to.  This worked absolutely wonderfully).  When you’re unable to stir any more, use one of your hands to start “bringing the mixture together”, in to a dough.
  5. Add just a drop or two of water – just enough so the mixture starts to meld nicely.  Don’t add too much, otherwise it’ll end up all sticky, and icky.
  6. Once the dough has formed a lovely ball, turn out on to a work surface, that has had a ‘scattering’ of icing sugar (powdered / confectioners sugar), and roll out with a rolling pin, so that it’s about 1cm thick.
  7. Cut out your required shape(s) – squares, rectangles, circles, stars, etc. – and place on the lined baking tray.
  8. Lightly prick the top of the biscuits with a fork, and sprinkle a little more caster sugar on the top of each.
  9. Throw them in the oven (well, not literally) for 15-20 minutes, or until a golden brown colour.
  10. Allow to cool fully before digging in.  Be careful though!  They are incredibly moreish.

Excuse the pics – my camera is playing up a little 😦

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And this is how I packaged them up – all ready for Gningy to take in to school tomorrow:

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Basic Vanilla Biscuit Recipe

I needed an alternative recipe to impress my work colleagues, and as it’s the middle of the year (and nowhere near Christmas), I didn’t think the spiced stained window biscuits would be suitable.  Instead, I have adapted the recipe to make a simple, basic, vanilla biscuit base for you to enjoy.  You can even add your own twist to them!  Suggestions for alternatives are lower down in this post…

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk (from a large egg…  Sorry, you’ll have to waste the egg white on this one)

2tsp vanilla essence

300g plain flour

Decorations:  hard boiled sweets, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whatever you like!

Method

1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (170C for fan assisted).

2.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

3.  You’re supposed to use the back of a wooden spoon for all this, but I used an electric whisk on the slowest speed…  It worked perfectly fine 🙂  Cream the butter.

4.  Add the sugar and cream together.

5.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence .

6.  Gradually add the flour…  I continued to use my electric whisk with no problem here.  Towards the end of adding all of your flour, you will notice the mixture not sticking together…  It’s ok…  Now is the time to get your hands involved.

7.  Put some flour on your hands, and knead the dough together into a ball.

8.  On a floured workspace, roll out the dough to approx. 1cm thick.

9.  Use cookie cutters to cut out your biscuits, and lie them on the papered tray.  Alternatively, cut out your desired shape with a knife (careful!).

10.  Decorate your biscuits any way you please…  Push in the chocolate chips, sprinkle with sprinkles (ha!), cut out smaller shapes in the middle and add a hard boiled sweet…  Whatever you please, but bare in mind that whatever you decorate them with will be baked!

11.  Place in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.

12.  If you’d like to decorate your biscuits with icing, ensure that they are fully cooled down before doing so.  This can take approx. 30 minutes.

Enjoy them!

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**Try adding lemon juice instead of vanilla essence…  Yummy

**  Replace 1 tablespoon of the flour for 1 table spoon of cocoa powder…  Mmmm

“Stained Glass Window” Biscuits

How’s this for a fun recipe…  Try it with the kids…

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

100g/3½oz butter

175g/6oz soft brown sugar

1 large egg, beaten

4 tbsp golden syrup

Packet wrapped fruit-flavoured hard boiled sweets in different colours

For the decorations (optional):

Tube ready-made white icing

Narrow ribbon

Method

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens)2.  Mix the flour, bicarb of soda, salt and ginger together in a bowl

3.  Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar

4.  In another bowl, beat together the egg and golden syrup, then pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands

5.  Crush the sweets in their wrappers using a rolling pin

6.  Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to about half a cm thick, then cut into shapes using a selection of Christmasy cookie cutters

7.  Transfer the biscuits to baking sheets lined with baking paper8.  Cut out shapes in the centre of each biscuit, making sure you leave a good edge all around the biscuit

9.  Completely fill the hole in each biscuit with some crushed boiled sweets

10. (OPTIONAL)  Make a hole at the top of each biscuit using a drinking straw so that you will be able to thread a ribbon through it later

11. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown

12. Remove the biscuits from the oven. While they’re still warm, check that the holes are still there – if not, push a straw through again. Do not remove the biscuits from the baking tray until they have cooled because the boiled sweets need to harden. Once the sweets have hardened, gently lift the biscuits onto a wire rack with a palette knife to finish cooling

13. If you like, you can decorate the biscuits with piped white icing. Thread ribbons through the holes in the biscuits to make loops for hanging from the tree

Yummy!  I don’t know whether I can wait until Christmas!