Thursday, March 13, 2014

Somerset Easter Biscuits - BATW: Great Britain

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:

125g butter
75g sugar
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
50g raisins
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.



Christian Halfmann said...

You are absolutely right, there is no point in resisting buttery tea biscuits at any point in the year. Thank you for joining us on our culinary travels around the world.

Johanna GGG said...

yes it is not easter but you wouldn't know it to look at the shops - at least these biscuits look like good honest biscuits to eat any time of year - and so very british

Kari said...

I love the sound of these! Spice biscuits are the best type I think.

Laura Denman said...

I've not come across these biscuits before but it's always lovely to find out a new regional. Thank you for sharing them with the Biscuit Barrel!

2paw said...

I shall definitely be making these, yum!! They are almost a Simnel cake in a biscuit!!

TeaLady said...

I also found this site recently but since I am already with My Kitchen My World I decided one was enough.
Try us at Only 3 or four of us.

Alexandra said...

Mmm, buttery biscuits and spice and candied peel. All the best things in the word right in one little package.