The humble biscuit.
It brightens up teatime, is happily dunked in all manner of hot beverages and sustained the entire Royal Navy for many an intrepid voyage.
This months Tea Time Treats blogging challenge, hosted by Karen, is, you guessed it, biscuits. I deliberated for some time (the entire final episode of MasterChef infact) what to bake. I toyed with the idea of baking an All-American Cookie. For a while, a fancy iced biccie was on the cards. Then I thought to recreate one of those paper-tasting Pink Wafers that everyone always leaves behind in biscuit selection tins.
Then I stumbled upon a very popular biscuit recipe by the Hairy Bikers for Lemon and Cardamom Biscuits. A trip to Norway inspired the Hairy Bikers to bake these biscuits. The addition of cardamom provides a warm sweet-spicy flavour. I decided to experiment.
While I wouldn't got as far as saying it was an experiment that changed the world (I'm certainly not comparing my experiment to Darwin's Orchid or the Smallpox vaccination, for example). But it was a terrifically tasty biscuit.
Anise, Almond and Lemon Biscuits
225g butter softened
125g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest only
250g plain flour
100g ground almond
1 heaped tsp ground anise seeds (dry fried; see below)
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Line two large baking sheets
2. Beat the butter, sugar and zest together for at least a few minutes until pale and fluffy
3. Beat in the flour, almonds and anise until well combined. The mixture will begin to form a stiff dough
4. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes
5. Roll the dough into 20-24 small balls and place, well separated, onto the prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a large spoon or upturned glass press down and flatten the balls of dough
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, a tray at a time, until golden. The biscuits should still be soft upon removing from the oven and will harden as they cool
- To obtain a stronger flavour, dry-fry the anise seeds in a hot frying pan for a few minutes until the aroma is released
- The biscuits last up to seven days. Try seven minutes at our place.
- I'm not the only fan of BBC's Hairy Bikers, Dave and Simon. Delia, in a recent interview with the Radio Times, said they made cooking not only funny but made viewers want to make the dishes they cooked. Here's one converted viewer for certain.