DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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9 May 2013

Making biscuits from scratch

It's Wednesday morning, 10.03, the aroma of homemade biscuits is wafting through our house. Is there any better fragrance? I have a few minutes to wait before they come out of the oven. Hanno is outside in the garden, clipping, mulching and planting in the empty spaces. Soon I'll call him for morning tea. I have no doubt he can smell biscuits baking.


These biscuits are the cheap and easy biscuits written about by Paula on the forum. Here is her recipe:
Makes 7-8 dozen, cook 10 min at 180C

500 grams butter (approx 1.1 lb)
1 can condensed milk (390-400 gram)
1 cup sugar
5 cups wholemeal self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder)
toppings like choc chips, smarties, jam, cinnamon and sugar

Cream butter and sugar, add condensed milk. stir in flour. roll into balls and flatten. Top with choc chips etc, or thumbprint and add jam for jam drops.

Bake at 180C for approx 10 min until golden brown. Cool on racks.








Morning tea has come and gone and still that aroma lingers. There are extras to be had from making up a batch of homemade biscuits. There is the aroma, the anticipation, and the feeling of pride in making what you need. Your biscuits will contain no preservatives or artificial flavours and that is certainly a bonus. I cooked up half the dough and have the other half wrapped in baking paper and in a plastic bag in the freezer. I'm going to visit my sister for a week soon. The day before I go I'll bake the second batch so Hanno has enough biscuits for visitors, but mostly for him and Jamie. ;- )

Are you a biscuit maker? I encourage you to make up a batch of these little beauties. You'll need an electric mixer or hand beater. They are just a plain butter biscuit but you can add nuts, chocolate chips, glaced fruit, nutmeg or cinnamon sugar or even jam - which is spooned into into the indent your thumb makes in the dough.

I know it can be intimidating when you want to bake your own bread or cakes and you don't have someone to teach you. These biscuits are a wonderful first step into baking and possibly the easiest way to start. They are simple to make and you'll have almost 100 biscuits. More than enough to fill your biscuit jar as still have a few to give to family and friends.

Just a few hints just in case you're a first time baker. Have your butter at room temperature but not too soft, cream the butter and sugar well before adding anything else and when you form the biscuits, don't make them too thin. If you make them in balls for the first batch, you can get a bit fancier with cookie cutters next time around. The balls are easy because you put them on the tray and they just melt to form a nice round biscuit. Don't place the dough too close on the tray or they'll join up.

Other than that, it's an easy and cheap recipe that will give you first rate biscuits, with no hidden nasties. Serving these with your morning tea or for an after school snack, beats opening a packet of commercial biscuits hands down. I hope you try them.

39 comments:

  1. rhonda, they look yummy. question: Are Australian biscuits what we in the USA call cookies? I think of biscuits as plain baking powder/buttermilk rounds that are used as a base for chicken and biscuits or perhaps the bottom of strawberry shortcake.

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    Replies
    1. Yes Barbara, they're cookies. Your biscuits are more like our scones.

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  2. I bake every thing that we eat but have not come across a recipe for biscuits with condensed milk before, I wonder what they would be like made with the caramel version.

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    Replies
    1. There's only one way to find out, Pam. Let me know what they turn out like. :- )

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  3. Hi Rhonda

    This brings back memories of biscuit production in our family. My mum used her bench mincer to wind out hundreds of what we kids used to call `caterpillars` using a fitting on her mincer that was like a spiky circle or kind of sun shape. We used to take turns winding the mincer handle and catching the caterpillars as they got to the right length. Then they would be gently lined up on oven trays for baking. Some for us, some for visitors and some for the school fete. Mmmm I can smell them now. Thank you. Robyn

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  4. The warm fireplaceMay 09, 2013 5:31 am

    I too make my own biscuits, i use a recipe called Shrewsberry biscuits, you can add any flavours, i love the smell as they are cooking and the taste, lovely.
    Sue

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  5. Mhm, I swear I could smell the lovely aroma all the way over here! What a great recipe - I will definitely give it a go! There is nothing quite like a homemade treat. Kirsten x

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  6. I make a similar cookie when my grandbabies visit, we call them "thumbprint cookies". The grandbabies love it because they get to press their thumb into the dough then we fill with a small amount of homemade plum jam. I love making special memories with my little munchkins!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  7. Yes I love this recipe- so easy and delicious! I try to always have a log or two of frozen dough in the freezer then if unexpected guests arrive I can have freshly baked biscuits on the table in close to ten minutes. And I can tailor them to the guests (almond slivers for Dad, jam drops for Mum etc). I currently have 500g of butter sitting on the kitchen bench coming to room temperature so it's as if this post read my mind!

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  8. Yum, I can practically smell them from here! I have a baking day once a fortnight when I make flapjacks and muffins for our breakfasts and always love the way the place smells afterwards! I'll have to try these too, I think!

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  9. These biscuits are great, I add cocoa and make chocolate ones. But I don't make them very often.... I am the only one who eats biscuits in my house.

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  10. These are my family's favourites too since I came across the recipe in your book. In yesterday's version I used brown sugar instead of white, and pressed a "freckle" into the centre of each. Not sure how many I made - they were disappearing faster than I could count them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ohh, I like the idea of using a freckle! I'm going to borrow that one ...

      thx!

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  11. Hi Rhonda, one of my favourite ways with this dough is to add sultanas and then roll in crushed cornflakes. Mind you OH will scoff them any way they are done. I roll the extra dough into balls and freeze in ziplock bags, that way I can take out the number I want. Have a great day!

    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

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  12. i cant stand store bought biscuits, lately we are loving brown butter biscuits, the recipes over at my place you'd love them they are crunchy and delicious and only made from simple ingredients, my boys are loving them, i've made so many batches I've lost count !

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  13. I don't bake too much anymore, living alone I find I eat too many. I leave my baking for occasions when I know it will be eaten. With family coming over this weekend these look just perfect. Thankyou

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  14. I must try these, I've seen this recipe a few times and have never actually made it. It sounds like a very simple, cheap way to please a crowd! We take turns in groups at church providing morning tea for after the service, I think I know what I'll be making next time it's my turn ;)

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  15. Hi Rhonda, I was doing the same baking as you yesterday! And I too was thinking how wonderful my home smelt. There is nothing like a home baked biscuit with a nice cup of tea.

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  16. Hi Rhonda,

    I was planning to make a batch of these same biscuits this afternoon, and having been downstairs all morning and not checked your blog today, I clicked on to find the very recipe waiting for me just now! These biscuits are just lovely - I have made them before - and they do go very quickly around here! The great thing about them is that you can 'customise' them to however you want, with all sorts of additions.

    I also made some with the chocolate flavoured condensed milk that Aldi was selling just before Easter, and they were nice, but they could have been a bit more 'chocolately' for my taste. I'd put in a bit of cocoa powder next time, I think.

    Thank you for posting this recipe again, Rhonda - you are such an inspiration and wonderful role model to us all!

    Cheers,
    Di

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  17. Hi there Rhonda, i just sat down to read your blog while i was waiting for my cookies to cook, i made a basic recipie, then made them into a sampler style, toped with 100s & 1000s, choc chips, jam & raw sugar, my kids think they are great because they get to choose which one they have. It doesn't take much more to do, i must try nuts as a topping, thanks for your blog, so inspiring.

    Nic

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  18. You simply can't beat that smell wafting through the house, funny how it always brings the workers indoors just as they come out of the oven :-)

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  19. Hi There, When I read this post I knew I had to try this recipe straight away and I did!!! Gosh, it really makes a lot of cookies!!! My daughter came up with the idea of sandwiching them together with some apricot jam and it really works!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  20. Good morning from Iowa, Rhonda... One of my best friends grew up in England and it always tickled me when she called "cookies" biscuits! What do you call the bread that we call "biscuits" here...the more savory bread without sugar? Your recipe looks delicious and I will certainly have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Dianne, your biscuits are similar to our scones. :- )

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  21. I just printed the recipe to try these. I'll grind some wheat this morning to try that way first. Thank you!

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  22. I try to make everything Ivan at home. Recently we've been making our own bread, butter, biscuits, cakes. These biscuits look so simple and delicious!

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  23. Hi, Rhonda, I'm wondering if condensed milk in Australia is sweetened? It is here in the US, and I'm thinking this recipe might be using what we call evaporated milk (which is not sweetened). Is this right? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, condensed milk is sweetened and that is what is used in the recipe.

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  24. Hi, we do not find condensed milk in my area, can I use regular milk instead?
    thanks,
    Mihaela

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michaela, regular milk will make the dough too runny. Here is my recipe for making condensed milk. It's very easy and you probably have everything in your pantry and fridge.

      http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2007/07/homemade-condensed-milk.html

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    2. Thank you so much, Rhonda,
      I'll do that. I can't wait to try the biscuits.
      Mihaela

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  25. Hi Rhonda

    I'll have to give this a go. I make shortbread biscuits all the time - just butter, sugar & flour, in the ratio of 4/2/6, but I've never thought of adding condensed milk. Do you use the full fat or "light" kind?

    I've just been to the UK for a week visiting family and came back to an empty biscuit tin, so I made a batch of shortbread last night, and a loaf of bread to your recipe this morning. Catching up!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Helen, I make my own condensed milk, the recipe is here - http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2007/07/homemade-condensed-milk.html It doesn't matter if it's full or skimmed milk. I hope you enjoy them.

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    2. Many thanks, might try that, though here in Greece condensed milk is very easy to come by and pretty cheap - Greek people prefer it to the "normal" kind of milk for coffee. While I like my ordinary coffee made the English way, iced coffee (frappé) tastes much better with the condensed stuff.

      Delete
  26. Hi Rhonda,
    Making these for sure this weekend.
    Every weekend I bake bread and also goodies for the girls to pack in their lunchkits. I try to make something different every time to improve my homemade 'vocabulary' =) This week it was granola bars.

    I try to use every part of any produce that I grow or buy, the way I suspect women before us did before 'convenience' food encouraged wastefulness. I always felt bad about throwing out the rind of watermelon, even though it went into the compost, and eventually found a recipe for it last week: Pickled watermelon rind. So easy and delicious! Turns out it is popular in the Southern part of America however is so unheard of here in the islands that when I offered it to people I know, they were extremely reluctant to try it in case they were 'poisoned' =) by my cooking. Once tried however, they loved it! Amazing what gifts an open mind can bring.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. I will gladly supply you with the recipe for the pickle if you have never tried it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki dear. Yes I'd like the recipe for pickled watermelon rind, although it will be a while before I try it as it's coming into inter here.

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    2. Here you go Rhonda. Enjoy.


      Pickled Watermelon Rind

      Ingredients
      1 pound watermelon rind (from a 3-pound piece watermelon)
      3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
      1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
      1 1/2 cups sugar
      2 tablespoons pickling spice

      Directions
      Using a vegetable peeler, peel outer skin and tough green layer from watermelon rind; cut rind into 2-by- 1/2-inch strips.
      In a medium saucepan, combine 5 cups water with 3 tablespoons salt; bring to a boil. Add rind. Cook at a rapid simmer over medium-high until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a heatproof bowl (reserve saucepan).
      In reserved saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, remaining teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt; pour hot liquid into bowl with rind. Use a small plate to submerge rind into liquid. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate in liquid at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.

      Delete
  27. I love making biscuits - Anzacs, melting moments, cherry shortbreads, chocolate rolo's, choc chip cookie bars - my girls go nuts when I bake! Will be trying this recipe very soon, thank you!

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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  28. I love these biscuits, my favourite way is to roll each dough ball in cinnamon sugar, second favourite is thumbprint jam and sprinkling of sugar.

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