What does the last of the housewives do?

Category: Biscuits

Poppyseed Crackers

I’m averaging about one committee meeting a week at the moment. One likes to be involved with ones community, and for me joining committees is the form this takes. Tonight it’s the choir meeting, we’ll be chatting about superannuation and to whom it is paid, and accompanists, and how much do you pay a children’s choir and are we ever going to have a website, that kind of thing. These meetings are very kindly hosted by the choir president in her beautiful home, so one wishes to bring a little something to snack on, to keep up the energy levels and to soak up the white wine. I generally forget, and grab some dried fruit or a bottle of wine as I head out the door, but today I’m organised and I’ve made crackers.

There’s generally cheese at these binges, so I wanted something fairly unassuming and a bit dry. Cracker recipes seem to fall into two categories, flaky and cheesy, and dry and plain. I took a standard recipe and did this with it.

The suggestion was for 250 grams of flour. I have a Thermomix, as I may have mentioned once or twice, so I put one hundred grams of whole wheat in the jug and Thermomixed it into flour.

I actually put in the leaves of a couple of sprigs of rosemary too, but as you can’t taste them in the finished product, ignore that. Except to say that if you want a rosemary flavour you’re going to have to use a sprig longer than two centimetres.
Then added a hundred and fifty grams of plain white flour. And a teaspoon of baking powder. Add sixty grams of Pepe Saya butter and zap it until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in a hundred grams of cold water and two tablespoons of poppy seeds and mix on reverse speed about three until the dough starts coming together. Dump half of it it onto a sheet of baking paper, add another sheet over the top and roll that dough out until it’s really thin.

You could put the other half in the fridge meanwhile. Or you could not bother. Cut out lots of little shapes and put them on a baking paper lined biscuit tray. Sprinkle with salt, this is where you use your fancy salt. Do the same with the rest of the dough. You’re only doing it in two batches because it takes up so much bench space when you roll it out thin. Bake at 160 degrees for about twenty minutes, until they’re just starting to brown.

I tasted one and it was pretty much what I was after. I like the texture from the whole wheat, the poppy seeds and the ground salt. The flavour was suitably unassuming. Yet subtly moreish. I am really enjoying making cookie cutter biscuits, they look so neat!

I’m also really enjoying having a break from being a committee treasurer this year. But I believe all that will change next week, at the Womyn’s Collective committee meeting. I’m a sucker for being treasurer.


Arrowroot biscuits with Butterscotch Cream

Two failed concepts. What started me off was one of my regular trips to The Source. I needed dried fruit for the First Fruitcake of the season (since made, please someone come and eat some before I finish it off singlemouthedly), more of their dark maple syrup for the large amounts of caramel icecream my children are getting through and some five grain mix because I’ve run out of muesli. Well, dear reader, they had arrowroot flour. Apparently it’s ground up tapioca, but whatever. Arrowroot biscuits!

Considering what a staple of Australian childhood the Arnotts Milk Arrowroot biscuit is, replica recipes are very thin on the inter webz. They’re possibly flooded out by the huge number of recipes for arrowroot biscuit toppings, because who would want to eat them plain, hey? In fact I couldn’t find any, and no, I didn’t look very hard. I did find an American arrowroot biscuit recipe, it looked a lot like a plain sugar cookie only with some arrowroot flour substituted for wheat flour. I had some vague idea that the Australian version has condensed milk in it, so I substituted a quarter of a cup of condensed milk for the egg that was the only liquid in the recipe. Here’s what I did.

Cream 60 grams of butter (Pepe Saya, of course, I’ve still got about a kilo left) with a quarter of a cup of white sugar. Beat in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a quarter of a cup of condensed milk. Beat in a cup of plain flour, half a cup of arrowroot flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder and a couple of grinds of the salt grinder. It makes a really white dough. You roll it out on a sheet of baking paper quite thin, and I’m pleased because I’m amassing quite a collection of cookie cutters and I love a chance to use them. And cut biscuits look very neat. Bake in a moderate oven for not very long at all, maybe ten minutes?

So they’re not anything like the Arnott’s biscuit. They’re a perfectly fine plain sweet biscuit, quite finely textured. I could possibly have reduced the sugar even more.

I wanted to zap them up a bit, and I had rolled them quite thin, so it was time for my second failed concept. Salted caramel ganache. It’s everywhere, probably because it’s delicious. Back to the webz for ideas. Did you know that it isn’t a ganache if it doesn’t have chocolate in it? So this isn’t ganache, for a start. I only wanted a little bit, because I know what I’d do, and did actually do, with left over stuff of this nature. Eat it with a spoon. Spread some on toast. Then eat the rest with a spoon. At least I’m using cutlery.

Keeping it simple, I put into the Thermomix thirty grams of Pepe Saya creme fraiche and thirty grams of caster sugar. I put it on Varoma temperature for fifteen minutes at speed two. The idea is to caramelise the sugar, it should turn brown. I had a peek after the time was up, and it was a sunny yellow. Put it on for another five minutes and convinced myself it was light brown. I didn’t want to burn it! I probably would have paradoxically been bolder (or more careless) with a saucepan and wooden spoon. I added thirty grams of Pepe Saya butter and a couple of grinds of salt, and zapped it until it was combined, only about five seconds. I poured it into a small metal bowl and bunged it in the fridge, trying to forget about it.

It did solidify into something satisfyingly spreadable after a few hours, so I spread it on some of the biscuits.

Wow that stuff was delicious. Very smooth, I’d go so far as to say unctuous. Slight tang taking the edge off the sweet from the creme fraiche. Just enough salt. I couldn’t kid myself, it wasn’t caramel, but it definitely was butterscotch. That’s why I’m going with “butterscotch cream”. Can I make up my own name? I’ll work on it. It did demonstrate that the caramel I’m using in the icecream is a faux caramel, getting its colour from brown sugar and maple syrup. I don’t want to mess with that, it’s perfect. But I will really have to have another crack at this not ganache. After I’ve worked the first lot off at the gym.

Ninjabread Men, the Agony and the Ecstasy

I started something in 2002. Something of which I in no way understood the ramifications. I sent my son, the incipient Moose, to preschool with gingerbread men on his birthday.

The advantage of a winter baby is that you get a few months to see how the whole birthday thing works. Where the parties are held, how many are invited, do the parents stick around, that kind of thing. There was also what to do on your actual birthday, and that was to bring in something delicious to eat to share with the class. Through close observation I noticed that the preschool staff were least keen on a whole cake. You have to work out how many kids there are, cut the cake in that many pieces, find plates, clean up cake slice stumps after. It’s a palaver. To earn brownie points you work out for yourself how many are in the class, add teachers and admin staff, deduct the allergy kids, and send in something in individual portions. Like cupcakes. Or, in our case, gingerbread men. My kids aren’t that keen on cupcakes.

Little realising that I’d let myself in for a lifetime of gingerbread man making. The actual recipe isn’t hard, I’ll give you that in a minute. It’s the converting them into men that’s a very very tedious job, thank goodness I only have three kids. The Moose is at a stage where it’s lame to bring in cake for the class, but he won’t say no to a box of Snickerdoodles. At a girls school baked goods are never lame, but the Muffet now prefers to bring in a couple of trays of raspberry slice. It’s only the Horror from Outer Space who still needs gingerbread men. Only, a few years ago I found these cutters.

So now they’re ninjabread men. I’ve also seen zombie cutters, but that isn’t fun to say and they just look like you’ve been careless cutting out your men. I’m sticking with the ninjas.

“How many do you want?” I really have to ask, not wanting to know. “We’ll, there’s everyone in my class, that’s twenty five, and my friends who aren’t in my class, and my teacher and my bassoon teacher and I have Art, so the art teacher. And I’d like to have two. What about fifty?” Shudder. From much experience I know that the recipe reliably makes twenty four, so to be on the safe side I’d better make a triple recipe. The KitchenAid is up to its apricots in it, if you’ll excuse a Bazza McKenzie phrase.

I’ll give you the amounts for one recipe. Cream together 125 grams of butter with half a cup of brown sugar and a tablespoon of ground ginger. Beat in half a cup of golden syrup and an egg. Mix in two and a half cups of flour and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Press the dough into a ball, wrap it in Gladwrap and stick it in the fridge while you go pick up the Muffet from school.

Upon your return, place a large sheet of baking paper on your workbench, slap the dough on top of it and put another piece of paper on top of that. It’s a fairly sticky dough, but you don’t want to work more flour into it. Roll it out to about a centimetre thickness. Then you start stamping out those suckers and putting them on a lined baking tray. The bit I really regret starting is decorating them with silver cachous.

Two for the eyes and three for buttons. Fifty times. I managed to bake one sheet and get another in the oven before I had to pick up the Horror from basketball. One more as I made him and his sister dinner, before I went up to the Moose’s school to listen to the Languages Poetry competition. Don’t ask. But he was very good, I was very proud of his Latin pronunciation and the way he didn’t pace a twenty metre track as he recited like he did while practicing at home. He didn’t win. Then another sheet before bed, and we got up to fifty. I still have some dough left to make some more, and I will, really, I just need a day off from those eyes. Those many glittering eyes.


Malted Oat Biscuits

I don’t want to be mean or anything, but the Thermomix is no good at creaming butter. There, I said it. Fortunately this is not one of those recipes that requires light fluffy butter, this is another lunch box filler because the cupboard is bare Yet Again.

The reason I’m using the Thermomix for this is because I’ve just made some butter, something that is becoming a weekly occurrence. Rather than wash the jug out, I just move on to making the biscuits, and I’ll follow that up with making raisin bread with the buttermilk. Such a housewifely morning I’m having, waiting for the StarTrak man to come and take away the remains of the epic party we had yesterday. I hope he comes before school pickup time.

Place in a bowl, or in the buttery jug of your Thermomix, 125 grams of butter and three quarters of a cup of sugar. Now you may recall me making a mental note to find out what rapadura was. I found out, and it’s tree huggers sugar. You gently squeeze the cane stalks, lay out the juice in hemp trays in the sun of the summer solstice, then crunch up the resulting solids and sell it to hippies who are convinced it’s much more healthy than evil imperialist white sugar. Anyway, I procured some and used it the first time I made these biscuits. Dear reader, it doesn’t cream with butter very well. You can’t always substitute it for sugar. But this biscuit is a fairly textural thing, so it’s OK, and it has a distinctive flavour that goes really well with the malt. The upshot is, I used half a cup of rapadura and a quarter or a cup of raw sugar. Also add an egg. Cream the lot together. The problem with doing it in the Thermomix is that the isn’t enough of it to use the butterfly, and it’s too dense to really mix up well. The blades make little tunnels in the mix, thus

It mixed it well enough to be going on with. Now add a cup and a quarter of plain flour, half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, half a cup of oats (I’m using the Honest to Goodness five grain mix) and half a cup of malted milk powder. That’ll cancel out the rapadura, the organic grains and the homemade butter. Actually, it doesn’t look too bad, it seems to be mainly powdered malt and powdered milk. I am still looking for a source of malt syrup, so one day this recipe will live up to my homemade ideals.

Mix it all up. If you’re using the Thermomix, remember to put it on reverse, otherwise you’ll chop up all your oats. Blob large pinches of it onto a lined baking tray. They’ll flatten out. Bake at 160 degrees for about twenty minutes, or until they start to go golden. It makes a solid, flavoursome, slightly crunchy biscuit. I should mention that the recipe came from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2 book, but as soon as i get the malt syrup sorted, she’s getting no further credit.


Hazelnut Meringue Biscuits, Brutti Ma Buoni

I first came across these biscuits around the corner from where I live. They were in the diabetes inducing three level four metre counter of the Italian pasticceria that is famous throughout Sydney for its ricotta cakes. I pointed at a brown knobbly looking biscuit and asked the girl behind the counter what it was called. With typical Italian courtesy and willingness to please she said “I dunno. I think it’s got hazelnuts in it”. I have since discovered that it is often called Brutti Ma Buoni because it looks like something that might be produced by a bilious owl but it tastes so good I’ve wanted to make it ever since I had my first five.

It’s the kind of biscuit that needs machinery to make, so as I’m still slightly surprised to be operating in a kitchen that actually has machinery it has taken me until now to get around to it. I found a recipe in the Guardian concatenated with the recipe for panettone I had a few weeks ago and it looked plausible. I needed to accumulate some egg whites.

I didn’t have anything much to do this morning except convert the choir accounts into a new format, so I thought I’d do that after lunch. The cupboard is bare yet again due to the Muffet corralling all the baked goods to share with her friends at school to celebrate her birthday. Knowing I wanted to have egg whites left over I made lemon cornmeal biscuits and had a crack at kourabiedes for the first time which left me with two egg whites. Enough for twelve biscuits. I really could make them half the size, but they do end up being very light.

I put the egg whites in the clean dry KitchenAid bowl, having learned my lesson about that more than once, you think it would stick. Put on the whisk attachment and got it whipping. The whites had to get to firm peaks and you really can’t get there without collapsing from boredom if you do it by hand. I know how foremothers had to, but I really can’t be bothered. It takes ages, even in the KitchenAid. Perhaps I should have had it on a faster setting.

Meanwhile I placed a half a teaspoon of cocoa powder, fifty grams of hazelnuts, a hundred grams of blanched almonds and a hundred grams of caster sugar in the Thermomix. The recipe suggests a coarse grind, so I resist the urge to zap it into oblivion.

I check the egg whites, they’re getting there. I check my mail and a Facebook argument I seem to be in about gay marriage and by the time I hop back into the kitchen they look like this:

Which is just right. I carefully fold in the nut mix plus fifty grams of hazelnuts I’ve meticulously cut in half – I think whole ones are a bit too robust for this light biscuit. I always feel a little sad hearing those tiny bubbles pop as the nuts get folded in, but there’s no help for it.

Plop tablespoonsful of the mix onto a baking paper line baking sheet, you should get about twelve out of this amount. I would have made more, but I don’t like having bits of egg left over, it upsets my sense of symmetry. I’d have had to have made a custard or something, and then I’d just have to eat it. Bake at 180 degrees for about ten minutes, or until they’re just starting to colour around the edges. You need to let them cool completely before getting stuck in. See what I mean about how they look?

Perhaps more a duck than an owl, but definitely avian. Gosh they’re delicious though,

Better Choc Mint Slice

It’s been a long day, and I’m now officially only treasurer for one organisation again. I could blog about the Oscars, but I didn’t watch them and haven’t seen any of the movies nominated except The Hobbit. I think Twitter does a pretty good summary, and it really looks like metallic is having a moment, doesn’t it? I wish velvet would, also fluffy hair, but heigh ho.

What I wanted to tell you about was that I’ve had another crack at chocolate peppermint slice, and I really think I’m getting there. I’ve done more of a pastry base this time, with a kneaded peppermint fondant and a much harder chocolate topping. I’m also rather pleased to have come up with a recipe that uses one egg white and one egg yolk, I never get around to using leftover egg components.

The base is adapted from one in my perennial favourites, The Good Cookie. They suggest it as a good base for slices, and they’re right. You put in your mixing bowl one cup of flour, one third of a cup of caster sugar, one third of a cup of cocoa powder and 125 grams of cold butter and mix it until the whole lot resembles breadcrumbs. You then chuck in an egg yolk and two teaspoons of cold water and mix until the whole lot starts to come together in a dough like fashion. Press it into a baking paper lined slice tray and bake for about twenty five minutes. If you weren’t doing a chocolate base, you’d use one and a third cups of flour and no cocoa powder, and would probably add in half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and you could also bake until it starts to brown, but you’re not and you can’t, so don’t.

Meanwhile make the peppermint fondant. Beat the leftover egg white until soft peaks start to form, or you get bored, whichever comes first. Beat in two cups of icing sugar. Add in some peppermint essence. I used half a teaspoon, but next time I’ll go crazy and use a whole teaspoon. The fondant will taste minty enough on its own with half a teaspoon of essence, but I think you need more to go with the chocolate. You will have formed a soft dough, which you turn out onto your bench top and sprinkle it with more icing sugar. Knead it like bread dough, you’ll be dissolving the sugar crystals and making a smoother feeling mint layer. Press it onto the cooled base.

I would then leave it lying about somewhere for a few hours, or overnight. Somewhere the ants can’t get to it. The mint layer dries out, which is what I’m after, you may prefer it wetter. Then you spread it with 170 grams of dark chocolate melted together with thirty grams of butter. Harmonie, not Pepe Saya. It’s turned out to be a pretty good ratio, it gives a chocolate layer you can cut without shattering, but not too melty. I would usually melt the chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl over boiling water, but I got a bit daring and did it over a low flame in a little glass saucepan, stirring constantly. I got away with it too, and it was easier to scrape out of the saucepan. With the heatproof bowl I never feel I can get all the chocolate out, I have to wait for it to set and then scrape it out and eat it with a teaspoon and that sets a bad example for the children.

Perhaps not quite the canonical recipe yet, but much closer.

Viennese Shortbread

The Horror has decided that I’ll be reproducing his favourite cafe treats. We’ve succeeded with the pistachio friands. The chocolate chip biscuits still need work, but are acceptable for the moment, especially as the cafe up the road from school has started stocking them again. How about Viennese shortbread then, hey? And what about baklava?

I have a phobia of filo pastry so no baklava for the foreseeable future, but Viennese shortbread seems doable. I’ve never understood why people like it, it’s two stodgy biscuits sandwiched together with some red flavoured plastic and dipped in dubious chocolate at one end. I think it’s because I keep a fairly close eye on the Horror’s chocolate intake, he can pretend he’s eating a biscuit, when he’s actually in it for the chocolate.

I found an excellent recipe which worked perfectly, a bit unusual for the net. It is this. Cream together 220 grams of butter with 55 grams of icing sugar. I highly recommend the Pepe Saya butter for this recipe. Go nuts with the creaming, you’ll probably need a machine for this. I will eventually review the KitchenAid, just hold your horses. Cream in half a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Mix in (gently does it) 55 grams of corn flour and 170 grams of flour. Let it rest while you go and mark up the attendance records for your choir. Now comes the tricky bit.

Have a think about Viennese shortbread. It has a distinctive shape that can only be produced with some kind of piping arrangement. Knowing this I popped out this morning and purchased a syringe style piping mechanism. It only had icing nozzles, rather than batter nozzles, but it looked as though it would do. I loaded it up with the very soft dough, it really was almost a batter. The wretched thing disintegrated almost immediately. Look.

Utterly useless. But I had to find a replacement for the plunger, that batter needed piping and I had a coffee date coming up. I looked around the kitchen for something that might fit into the barrel. Tiny schnapps bottle, no, rolling pin, no, dogs ear wash, no thank goodness. Off to the beading table. Aha! Empty spool of artistic wire fit perfectly, you can see it behind the torn plunger in the photo. I had to push it down with my muscular thumbs, but it worked a treat. Because it was an icing nozzle I had to lay down a triple width to make a nice sized biscuit.

Bake those at 160 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until pale golden in colour. While they were cooling I dashed off an opprobrious email to the distributors of my self destroying syringe. They emailed back almost straight away saying that such a thing had never happened before in the illustrious history of their company and I should return it straight away for a new one which would most certainly not collapse immediately on me. Hah.

Anyway, when the biscuits are cool, get out some jam. Not fancy stuff, you want a smooth thin layer. Also melt some chocolate in a heatproof bowl over boiling water. Jam pairs of biscuits together. The dip the end in melted chocolate. Very gently. These biscuits are fairly delicate, you may want to spoon the chocolate over them. Place them back on the baking tin and stick them in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

They may look like the Viennese shortbread you get in cafes, but they are so so very much better.

Standard Chocolate Chip Biscuits

When I was a new mum I leaned towards the “chocolate? I may as well feed my children broken glass dipped in arsenic” school of thought. Don’t deny it, you’ve been there. And gradually, year by year I’ve been worn down by shopkeepers giving the kids a bit of chocolate, school teachers handing it out, relatives sneaking it to them, the kids finding my secret stash, Easter. Now I’m looking for any way I can to hold them between coming home from school and dinner. I’m not at the point where I’d buy them a chocolate bar, but I’m on that slippery slope.

I was looking for the classic chocolate chip cookie. Actually, I was being nagged by the Horror to find the recipe for those big ones with the twenty cent sized choc chips that you get in nicer cafes. Specifically the cafe near his school which we sometimes frequent in the morning after dropping the Moose off at some ungodly hour. Well, that cafe doesn’t stock them any more, I don’t know why but I’m guessing that too many of them were breaking in half. Fortunately the Horror has grudgingly agreed to have a croissant instead, so I can still enjoy their delicious coffee, but he wanted that cookie again. This recipe is just listed as chocolate chip cookies in my Pillsbury book of family recipes, but it’s very close indeed to the classic Toll House cookie recipe.

Cream together 170 grams of butter with a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of white sugar. Mix in an egg and a teaspoon and a half of vanilla essence. Mix in 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Mix in half a cup of dark chocolate chips. Flatten apricot sized chunks of dough onto a baking paper lined tray. Press into each biscuit a large dark chocolate chip. I thought it would be too fiddly to use the big ones all the way through, you don’t get an even mix.

I use the Belcolade chocolate drops for the big ones, the Callebaut for the small ones. Bake for ten to twelve minutes at 180 degrees, or until golden on top.

Of course they’re not exactly the same as the ones at the cafe, they’re slightly softer. The Horror, in the interest of science, had to have two to make sure they weren’t the same.

I should stop caring what he thinks. But it’s hard to resist a tough audience

Oat and Choc Chip Biscuits

“It’s not my favourite biscuit”, said the Horror, reaching for a second. “I don’t love it but I don’t not like it”, he continued, alternating bites with sips of miso soup. He’s a tough audience. The Moose managed to suck down two in the thirty seconds between arriving home from tennis and his piano lesson, I may have to mop down the keys. It’s an excellent lunchbox addition, the kids are calling them choc chip Anzacs. I got the recipe from the Pillsbury Family Recipe Book which, though utterly loony on the salad front, has some pretty interesting biscuit recipes.

Cream together half a cup of butter with half a cup of caster sugar and half a cup of brown sugar. Add an egg and realise as it hits the butter that it’s off. I have been playing a bit fast and loose with my eggs, I don’t put them in the fridge. I generally go through a dozen every week or two, but the weather has been very peculiar lately and I notice that organic produce is a little more touchy than factory produced stuff. I didn’t want to chuck out the butter out and start again, that Pepe Saya butter is pricey. Worth it, but pricey. Here’s what I did. I gave some advice to the cat about checking eggs before adding them to anything. The cat turned his head sideways at me. He doesn’t care for biscuits. Then I tipped the majority of the egg into the sink. I put a little bit of cold water on top of the butter and swished it around, then tipped it out. Did that a couple more times. Then I carefully scraped the very top layer off the butter and washed that down the sink. Then I stuck my head in the bowl and took a deep sniff. Clear.

I cracked another egg from the same box into a measuring cup. It was fine, so into the butter and mix to incorporate. Add in a cup of flour, a cup of oats, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and half a cup of chocolate chips. Nice ones. I was going to say not ones from the supermarket, but you can actually get Callebaut chocolate chips from my local supermarket. Mix it all in and put chunks of the fairly sticky dough onto a baking paper lined tray. Bake at one hundred and eighty degrees for about fifteen minutes. My mix made twenty seven biscuits. They spread out quite a bit. They’re not as crunchy as Anzacs.

You know, modern traffic really does have a whiff of rotten egg about it? Either that, or there’s still some stuck to my jumper somewhere.

Monte Carlos

I have a delightful mother-in-law. No, really, I do. But she’s one of those self effacing women who doesn’t want to make a fuss, doesn’t express an opinion, says she likes everything and everybody, and feels it’s a little sinful to be sitting down when you could be tidying things up or making cups of tea. So when she incautiously let fall one day that she liked Monte Carlo biscuits, I was right on it.

I got this recipe from the Sydney Morning Herald a few months ago. It’s a filled coconut biscuit, which I generally find too fiddly to bother with, but I have had miraculously bestowed upon me a second hand Kitchen Aid and everything is different now.

Cream together 190 grams of butter with 125 grams of brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat in an egg. Slowly mix in 75 grams of dessicated coconut, 250 grams of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. I don’t have dessicated coconut, I have coconut flakes which I pulverise in a twenty year old electric coffee grinder. This is a very sticky, wet mixture, and I may try adding an extra 50 grams of flour next time. Place teaspoons of mixture on a baking paper lined tray and leave plenty of room for them to spread. Bake at 180 degrees for about ten minutes, you want them golden brown. Leave them to cool completely.

Cream together 75 grams of butter (Harmonie, not Pepe Saya, as it isn’t going to be cooked), 190 grams of icing sugar, two teaspoons of milk and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence. With the Kitchen Aid you don’t even need to sift the icing sugar, you just let it do its thing until the mix is all pale and creamy. No wrist action required.

Tip your cooled biscuits upside down. They’re fragile, and actually quite nice on their own. Expect to break some. Grab some jam, I’m using IXL plum jam because it’s easy to spread. Pair up your biscuits and spread the butter mix on one half and some jam on the other, then gently press them together. If you eat them on the day you make them, they’ll be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. A few days later will see them quite soft, but still rather delicious. I actually prefer them aged. I always have some butter mix left over, because I don’t like to overdo the filling. I would suggest eating this with a spoon while supervising the kids in the pool.

I have seen my mother-in-law eat these, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never know if she prefers them to ones out of a packet. Perhaps I’m over thinking it. They’re just biscuits.