6 April 2011

biscuits don't grow on trees - part 1

It started off as some gentle banter, a little bit of bragging over who bakes the better biscuits, when before you can say "grease up the baking tray" I find myself shaking hands with Ms. Baker (potential advantage?!) and agreeing to an office bake off.

How, I hear you ask does this have anything to do with growing stuff?

Since the beginning of time, I have had the ever persistent Ms. White of Voodoo Motorsport pestering me to grow a "Cookie Tree" given that we are English, I shall assume she means "Biscuit tree"; irrespective, no logical argument seems to be able to make her see sense. So, whilst I was baking, I thought she could be started off on the straight and narrow; a little bit of education in how biscuits are made and exactly what goes into them...

On this subject, I would like to introduce bis-quit connoisseur and chief cat hunter Ms. K. Burrows, to whom ginger biscuits, their recipe, preparation and eating, have become an ever so slight addiction....its ok though...shes a vegetarian and unlikely to bite you....hard.

The recipe is now close to perfection, but is a little bit "freestyle" - in fact no two batches ever taste quite the same, but hey these biscuits are home made, not the generic/geriatric supermarket stodge filled offerings.

So here's what you need to make around 36 KBCM Ginger Bis-quits:

1 pound of self raising flour
4 ounces Demerara sugar
4 ounces dark brown Muscovado sugar
4 ounces of margarine or unsalted butter
1/2 jar of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of  ground cinnamon
pinch of dried/ground cloves
1/3 jar/tube of liquid honey
2 tablespoons of black treacle
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
2 teaspoons of Maple syrup

1. If you have a fan assisted over set it to 160*.....that's gas mark something or however many degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, break down any lumps of flour and sugar and try to get the same consistent colour through the mix.

3. Then add the margarine/butter (I prefer margarine), and and this point you need to get your hands dirty, working the margarine into the flour until you get a crumbly breadcrumb texture. The mix should feel nice and loose, with no lumps or soggy patches.

4. Now add all the syrups and the honey and mix through the dry ingredients until you have a large ball of slightly gooey biscuit mix.

5. Grab a bit of kitchen roll and use some margarine to grease up a couple of backing trays.

6.  Break the mix off into lumps, golf ball sized gets you a biscuit a little bit larger than a digestive, roll them in your palm and then flatten out so they are about the same thickness as your fingers.

7. Put them into your nicely preheated oven on the top two shelves for 12 minutes.

8. It's only been 8 minutes, mitts off that door handle!

9. When you take them out of the oven, they will be soft to the touch, let them cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before sliding off onto a cooling rack.

10. Now go do the washing up. Seriously, no nibbling until the kitchen is back in the state you found it in....or cleaner than that if you are a student.

11. Put on the kettle, make a nice strong brew and dunk those little suckers!

So, now we know what goes into a ginger biscuit, it's pretty clear that they can't grow on trees...but could their ingredients be grown on the plot?

Oh and the bake off? It was a draw...although those ANZACS were pretty darn tasty...

to be continued...