This book has been a part of my life for my entire life. My mum had it, and sometimes baked from it. When I left home, my mum got me a copy… but it was the new version:
And… I did cook from it, but it never felt like the proper book. Then when my Nana moved into a smaller place and wasn’t cooking any more, I was lucky enough to inherit her copy; I gave mine to someone else who didn’t mind the cover as much.
At one stage I thought I would try to cook my way through the whole thing, but that kinda petered out. Nonetheless, I have cooked a lot of the recipes. And they are fine. So very fine. The recipes are easy to follow, they use straightforward ingredients, and they are invariably delicious. The book is straightforward and – look, it’s a Women’s Weekly book. It’s trustworthy. It’s arranged by ingredient – almond, chocolate, peanut, walnut) – which is brilliant for this sort of book. Pick your star ingredient, then pick your recipe, and go. Also, calling this a biscuit book is selling it short. There’s lots of slices, there’s meringue, rum balls, chocolate crackle… look, if I was forced to have only one book for cooking sweet things, this would probably be it.
A sample of the recipes, alphabetically:
Almond raspberry fingers: very tasty; not the recipe’s fault that I am completely hopeless with piping and have therefore never made the topping (ground almonds, sugar, eggs, rum) look like it should.
Apricot nut slice: apricot jam and cocoa and coconut and peanuts. I love this one a lot.
Curry curlies: kinda dates the book, in a good way. Pre-rolled puff pastry, butter, curry powder… and potato chips… and related: Cheese sticks (cheddar and Parmesan instead of the curry powder).
Chocolate Fudge Bars: this might be the recipe I’ve made most often. The bars are coconut and flour and sugar and cocoa and butter; the icing is cocoa and butter and sugar… they’re easy and a delight.
Neenish biscuits: or “10 minute biscuits” as I like to call them, because that’s how long it feels like making each one takes. Make biscuits; join biscuits with cream and jam; make icing – two colours… and THEN they get eaten FAR TOO FAST by a CERTAIN person in your life. But maybe that’s just me.
Peanut butter crinkles: these are THE ultimate peanut butter cookies. They are the definitive peanut butter biscuit, as far as I am concerned. I don’t make them often, because… well. I’d just eat all of them.
I could keep going. But that might get boring. Suffice to say that if you don’t own this but you are looking for a good, general, approachable biscuit and slice book, this is it. And if you know someone who hasn’t had a chance to cook much along those lines, this is an excellent place to start.