Saturday, 29 March 2014

Orange Biscuits


Oh dear, oh dear.  There is so much disorganisation going on for me right now.  I am afraid I must warn you, dear readers, that my second school placement for my university course has begun and, like last time, the baking is going to take a bit of a hit.  It already has and this blog post has been about two weeks in the making.  It is shocking.  But I was determined to get it up today because there's no way I could not have something go out on the blog's second birthday!  That would be awful.  Of course, I would have preferred a special bake specifically for celebrating the event but that has been delayed.  So I'll be doing a belated birthday post (with much gushing and nostalgia I am sure)...once I figure out what to make.  Yeah, I'm that disorganised right now. 

Luckily though, the next two weeks are the Easter holidays and whilst I should be using them to get a large chunk of my work out of the way I will also have some time for baking.  At the very least there will be the April Dessert Challenge, along with that delayed birthday post.  So I won't be vanishing completely.  Things are just going to be a little slow around here for a couple of months.

Anyway, lets get on to biscuits!  

Back at the start of March I got to go on a merry jaunt to Edinburgh to see my good friend Jess for movies and lunch and shopping.  I went with good intentions in terms of the shopping.  I was planning to get the lace for my wedding dress and a proper cake tester since I'm tired of the holes my bamboo skewers leave when I use them.  That was all.  Unfortunately, I was weak and came away with much more than I intended.  Amongst my unexpected purchases was a new recipe book all about biscuits and cookies.  I really couldn't resist as books with just biscuits in seem to be really hard to come by and biscuits are easily my favourite thing to make.  Plus it was only £3.99!  Also yellow.  I'm terribly attracted to yellow things.  Anyway!  It is fabulous.  So many recipes, several of which are for classic British favourites like Digestives and Nice and Bourbon and Custard Creams and Hobnobs.  The list goes on.  I am going to have to try out the one for Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookies and see if they turn out better than the last recipe I tried that claimed the same title.  Honestly, I was not sure where I was going to start with this book.  There were so many recipes that I was itching to try!  In the end though, I settled for the 'Golden Orange Melts' because they sounded nice and simple and I do love me some orange.  They are also great because you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to a week and just bake some when you feel like.  Which is what I ended up doing.  I did a test batch the day after I originally made the dough and then did not end up cooking the rest until much later in the week.  I will say though, they did turn out a little crispier on the second go.

These are very yummy.  I was sceptical as to how orangey they would taste since I was using zest and juice this time, rather than orange extract like I usually do.  Turns out, they are VERY orangey and they smell amazing!  I ended up taking one each day for a break time snack and unwrapping it from the foil always sent this great burst of orange into the air.  It was great!  They taste really good and have a nice texture.  Like I said before, how crunchy they are seems to change the longer the dough is left in the fridge.  I shall definitely be making these again though.

Recipe - adapted from Home Baking Cookie and Biscuits 
Makes about 30 (the original recipe says 12 but I managed to get a lot more from one batch of dough)

This recipe requires the dough to be chilled overnight!
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 100g/3.5oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange
  • 300g/11oz plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy.
  2. Zest and juice the orange.
  3. Beat the egg gently in a separate bowl and then add it and the orange zest to the sugar butter and mix in.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture along with 2 or 3 teaspoons of the orange juice and mix together to form a reasonably firm dough.
  5. Shape the dough into a sausage shape about 30cm/12inches long, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight (and up to a week).
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°/Gas Mark 5 and line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking parchment.
  7. Cut slices of dough off the roll, about 1cm/0.5inches thick and space well apart on the trays as they spread a lot whilst baking (I only got 6 on each of my trays: any more resulted in them merging together).
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to darken and the rest of the biscuit is a pale golden colour.
  9. Allow to rest on the trays for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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