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: Continue reading “Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits”
1. A friend came home from France with a madeleine pan for me. I had never had the urge to make madeleines before, but now I have a madeleine pan.
So I’ve made madeleines. I followed Stephanie Alexander’s honey madeleines recipe, and… they’re ok. They’re definitely not as crispy as they should be, although the second batch was a bit better (her mixture is for 24, and my pan is for 12, although it only made 18 I think) – I’d put a bit more butter in the pans I think. So that’s something to experiment with. I’m also not sure whether madeleines come in different flavours, so I guess I’ll do some hunting around to find out.
2. Our fruit n veg box this week came with a large number of bananas, so my mother reminded me that caramelised bananas are excellent. These are not as she suggested, though, because she was reminiscing about making them with rum or brandy ‘or whatever you’ve got handy’ – and I had nothing like that handy (not using Frangelico, or Pimms). I did use some of the cardamom-pistachio sugar mix I have from Gewurzhaus, which I think added a little to the experience, as well as a whack of butter and some additional brown sugar. Very tasty with ice cream.
Yesterday I talked about the book itself; today, it’s the recipes.
They, too, are great.
Sour cherry and dark chocolate biscuits: the first time I made these I couldn’t find sour cherries; that has since been rectified. That first time I used dried blueberries, and they were ok. I really like them with sour cherries – these are some new favourites.
Persian love cake: even though I had no rose water, so I used orange blossom water, this was fantastic. And as Khan herself notes, the cake keeps quite well – I think we ate it over about five days and it didn’t go stale just under plastic wrap in the fridge.
Mains Continue reading “The Saffron Tales #2”
This book was provided by the publisher at no cost.
Previously, on BakeClass: rhubarb cake; self-saucing pudding; the book itself; sponge-making.
I have never made gingernuts before, which seems vastly remiss since they’re definitely a favourite. And they’re going straight to the top of my ‘I feel like baking but nothing too strenuous also I don’t have anything exotic in the house’ list of recipes, too, which is a feeling I et surprisingly often – these are incredibly easy and very very tasty. I was a bit dubious that there wasn’t enough ginger (3 tsp), but I was grumpily good and followed the recipe aaaand I think it’s safe to say they were spicy enough.
Apparently I also made them too big. Perhaps my estimation of how much a tablespoon of biscuit mixture is is somewhat off. As you can see they kind of… spread. They looked more like a gap-y slice than neat little biscuits. (The big gap in the second row wasn’t there while they were cooking….) Still, they were excellent, and will apparently keep for about a fortnight. If they’re not eaten first.
Caution: trying to say the name of these biscuits as an Anglo can have dangerous consequences for earworms.
These biscuits were my first foray into the Greek chapter of Tess Mallos’ Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook. They’re honey-dipped cookies and they were, of course, a winner. They were a bit fiddly to make what with the kneading and then the pinching off and the adding the filling and then pinching shut, but in the end it was totally worth it.
The pastry is a pretty straightforward sweet one; it has both oil and butter which surprised me a little but they don’t come out particularly oily or anything. Orange zest and juice is a nice touch.
The filling is honey and cinnamon and walnuts and orange juice; it’s meant to have some almond essence but I decided it wasn’t necessary. You grab a bit of pastry, make a flat disc, put some filling in the middle and then pinch it together. Like I said, a bit time-consuming… but I made just over 40. (The recipe says 60; I presume my biscuits were bigger than they’re meant to be.)
After they’ve cooked you also dip them in a honey syrup; you only dip the ones you’re going to eat immediately. I made some for friends, but didn’t dip them all; I’m not sure how long they’ll last. Ate some that had been dipped the day before – they still tasted fine, although yes probably a bit better when they were fresh.
I can imagine making these again although it will have to be an important event to make the time worth it.