Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Best of Biscuits

With the holiday period in about 6 weeks, we will stocking up with the best cheeses, so why not bake great biscuits to go with them.
Digestive Biscuits - makes savoury or sweet
6 ox (175g) wholewheat flour
pinch salt
3 oz (75g) S.R.flour,
1 level tsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) each lard and margarine
very little milk to mix.
For sweet version add: 1 oz (25g) granulated sugar
For savoury version: add 1/2 tsp celery salt, or 1 tsp. dried herbs, black pepper
Mix the dry ingredients together and rub in fats thoroughly (you could blitz these in a processor). Mix in only enough milk to give a firm dough. Knead lightly then roll out on a floured board to approx. 1/4" thick. Cut into 3" r0unds and place on a greased and floured baking sheet, prick well and bake at 190C, 375F, Gas 5 for 10-15 mins until just browning. Cool on a cake airer.
Tip: to make chocolate digestives, spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over the underside and drag a fork through to make a wiggly pattern. Keep in a tin when set.
To give a professional look to biscuits, buy a round 'needle holder' from a florists who use and sell these to hold flower arrangements. Keep yours just for pricking biscuits or pastry.

8 oz (225g) fine oatmeal *
good pinch of salt
1 1/2 oz (40g) lard
Mix together the oatmeal and salt (* you can blitz porridge oats down to make a rough flour). Add the melted fat and only enough boiling water to bind. Knead in a bowl and turn out onto a board sprinkled with the oatmeal. Roll out thinly and cut into rounds, oblongs or triangles.
Place on a prepared baking sheet (as above) and bake at 200C, 400F, Gas 6 for 5-10 minutes until just crisp. Cool on a wire rack.

Small Savoury Crackers - makes 6 - 7 dozen
9 oz (250g) S.R.flour
1 tsp salt
2 oz (50g) margarine
cold water
Additional flavours: Parmesan, celery salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper.
Sieve flour and salt, rub in margarine and mix to a firm dough with water. Turn out onto a floured board and knead well. Decide how many flavours you wish to use and divide the dough into that amount. Roll out each ball into an oblong and sprinkle with chosen flavour. Fold into three and repeat twice more. Finally roll out thinly and cut into circles with a 2" cutter. Repeat using each ball with its own flavour. Prick the biscuits and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 180C etc. until light gold and turning crisp.
Tip: Remove a biscuit after 5 minutes to check if it is cooked. If not, keep checking every 30 seconds or so until you are satisfied. Remember you can always return biscuits to the oven if not crisp enough. Always store biscuits in an airtight tin.