Recently, I found a new blogging event called Bloggers Around the World, hosted by Chris of Cooking Around the World. This month's challenge is to make a dish from Great Britain.
I have decided to join the fun with Somerset Easter Biscuits, originating from - you guessed it, the county of Somerset in England. I know, it's not Easter yet, but how could you resist buttery tea biscuits that smell of heavenly spices at any time of the year?
I also found The Biscuit Barrel Challenge, so I am sending these off to Laura of I'd Much Rather Bake Than ... for the Spring-themed challenge. After all, Easter is in Spring in the Northern Hemisphere (though not here).
I used the recipe that I found on p25 of The Great British Book of Baking. To make them, you will need:
1 egg, separated
200 grams plain flour
Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
A good pinch of baking powder (yup, your guess is as good as mine - I used about 1/2 a teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon mixed ground spice (I didn't have any so used 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed peel, finely chopped
extra sugar for sprinkling on top
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter until light and creamy. While still running the mixer, slowly add sugar and beat the mixture until well combined. Add the egg yolk (reserve the white) and beat until well combined.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and combine on low speed (don't overmix). Turn off the mixer and fold in the mixed peel and raisins with a spatula. If the dough doesn't come together, add a little ice water (add slowly and in small amounts - you don't want to make the dough soggy.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out until around 5mm thick. (I rolled it between two pieces of baking paper instead.) Using a 2.5 inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough and place them on the lined baking sheet slightly apart (they don't spread much).
Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes until lightly golden and firm. Meanwhile whisk the egg white until slightly frothy. Remove cookies from oven and lightly brush the biscuits with egg white and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Return the biscuits to the oven and bake the biscuits for a further 5 minutes or so until tops are golden and crunchy. Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.