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.
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