Tag Archives: Biscuit

Crispy savoury homemade crackers

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We call them biscuits here in South Africa, actually. But I think what Americans call biscuits are more like puffy scones to us, so I thought I’d go for ‘crackers’ instead.

Anyway, the point is: here’s a recipe for the easiest, crunchiest, thinnest, spiciest savoury crackers you’ll ever make at home… courtesy of my dear mom’s collection of recipes from years of kitcheneering 😉

Four main ingredients

Four main ingredients

Crispy savoury crackers

Ingredients

1 C cake/all-purpose flour

2.5 ml salt

1 ml pepper (1 ml? Seriously? Why not just say a pinch?)

1 ml cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)

15 ml butter

1/2 C cheddar cheese, finely grated (I like mature cheddar for this)

Cold water

Method

1. Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub in the butter.

3. Add the cheese and just enough water to make a stiff dough. (Add it bit by bit and ‘cut’ it gently into the flour with a knife.)

NB: Avoid any unnecessary kneading and pressing. This is the only tricky part of the recipe. Your dough should be dry-ish to the touch but sticky enough to form a messy clump:

Don’t overmix or add too much water!

4. Roll out very thinly. What I mean by thin is this:

Roll out thinly

Roll out thinly

If it’s three millimetres thick, that’s about the max 🙂

Thin now = crunchy later

5. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter of your choice and place crackers on a greased baking tray.

6. Prick the crackers with a fork several times each.

Pricked and primed for the oven

7. Bake for approx. 20 minutes at 190 °C. Afterwards, leave them to cool on the tray and they should just pop off easily.

NB #2: They burn very suddenly! Please keep an eye on them after the first 10 minutes and take them out when they start to look golden. They’re irredeemable when burnt but they’re fantastic when caught just a few minutes before that :mrgreen:

Golden harvest!

Golden harvest!

The idea is that you then use them as a base for any savoury topping you like… if you can stop yourself from eating them all before you prepare the first topping!

Perfect with savoury toppings or eaten plain

Perfect with savoury toppings or eaten plain

I’m sure you could change the spices in this recipe as you like, even adding dried herbs or changing the whole recipe into a sweet cracker instead (mmm… with cinnamon and cardamom perhaps… served still warm cracked over cold ice cream…). Ah, I was born to bake 🙂

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Cherry on top

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I just had to share this series of shots from a cute moment during Flea’s birthday party. She went for the cherry on top of the biscuit, but didn’t use her hands to grab the biscuit… 🙂

Cherry 1

Cherry 2

Cherry 3

Cherry 4

Cherry 5

Cherry 6

Cherry 7

Cherry 8

Happy birthday Flea!

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Party 8

Our dear fluffy Flea turned 2 years old today – or 60 years old in rat years! She’s our first ratty to live this long (though hopefully not the last), so it’s a special day for us. Wish her adorable sister Coffee could have shared the party too.

In time for her birthday we took Flea to the vet a few days ago, to get her teeth trimmed and to give her a vitamin B complex and multivitamin shot. Her teeth needed trimming because she’s slowly stopped eating hard foods (can’t hold them so well in her hands anymore), and as you may know, rats’ teeth never stop growing.

It made our spines crawl to hear her teeth being clipped down with one loud click (just thinking about it reminds me of the feeling you get when you drag your nails on a chalkboard… ugh!), but the vet was super and it was quick and painless. Flea did squeak when she was jabbed for the vitamin injection, but that too was over in seconds, and she seems to have perked up quite a bit since that dose.

Anyway, here are a few pics from her birthday party 🙂

Breakfast: porridge with Ensure and dried blueberries

Breakfast: porridge with Ensure and dried blueberries

This morning before church I whipped up Flea’s delicious breakfast: baby porridge with vanilla Ensure (a complete nutritional supplement) and dried blueberries (which she carefully ate around, the fusspot!).

Then later this afternoon I set up a sunny spot for her birthday photoshoot. Since she doesn’t eat huge portions anymore I limited the treats to scattered candied sunflower seeds and some coconut biscuits baked by Flea’s granny AKA my mom 😉

The birthday girl arrives

The birthday girl arrives

Party 3Party 4Party 5Party 6Party 7

Flea nommed happily on that biscuit for ages, especially when we moistened it a bit and held it up for her. What a feast! :mrgreen:

Ninja and I spoiling our ratty

Ninja and I spoiling our ratty

Happy birthday sweet furball… you’re a blessing from the Lord and we enjoy your company every day 🙂

Currant whorls and a guilty conscience

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Oops, I did it again. It’s been a quiet day. Chores all done. No work deadlines or pressure. And so… I baked.

Sigh 😛

This has really got to stop! And it will, soon enough (keep an eye out for the next post). But for now, let me share with you my mom’s recipe for a delicious tea-time treat called currant whorls. A dry, biscuity snack that’s not overly sweet. Perfect with a cuppa on a quiet afternoon…

Khushi enjoying currant whorls for tea time

Ingredients

2 C flour

1/2 t baking powder

pinch of salt

125 g butter

1/4 C water

1/3 C brown sugar and 3 t ground cinnamon, mixed together

Currants

1 egg, beaten

White sugar

Method

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a food processor.

2. Cut in butter and process to breadcrumb consistency.

3. Add water slowly. Only add enough to form a stiff dough: you don’t want it to be a sticky dough though.

4. On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar or flour, roll out the dough into an oblong shape about 3 mm thick all round.

5. Sprinkle dough with the cinnamon mix. Spread currants on fairly thickly.

6. Roll up the dough carefully, loosening it from the surface with a spatula and pressing the roll close together.

7. Carefully cut slices from the roll and place on a greased baking tray.

8. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with white sugar.

9. Bake at 200 °C for about 20 minutes, until the whorls are golden brown.

10. Cool on tray a bit, then carefully prise off and cool completely on a rack.

It’s quite a messy recipe, especially if you spill a lot of egg on the baking trays, but the results are worth it. The only problem for me is that Ninja isn’t fond of raisins or currants or baked fruit of any kind. So I guess I’ll have to take some of these along to Bible Study tonight, before I eat them all myself. You know how it goes: a guilty pleasure shared halves the guilt 😉

I even tried to share the guilt with the ratties, making (cinnamon-free) mini star versions with a piece of leftover dough.

  

These crunchy treats keep well in an airtight tin. I hope you’ll try them sometime 🙂

Vanilla shuriken biscuits

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Well, the ninja party was a big hit! Our friends enjoyed the day and my Ninja was blessed 🙂 Now it’s time to share with you some of the fun baking and decorating ideas I used for our ninja-themed party. I’ll start off with the sweet stuff first: the best, crispiest, yummiest vanilla roll-out/cut-out cookies you’ll ever bake! And you needn’t slave over them for as long as I did either… it’s just that I was determined to make them in the shape of shuriken or ‘ninja stars’, as some people call them.

First up, I printed some templates of simple shuriken (which, I later learnt, are more correctly called shaken… but the name shuriken seems to have stuck). I covered the templates with clear tape so that the cardboard wouldn’t be damaged by the oily cookie dough.

Shuriken 1

For the recipe, I adapted a favourite recipe of mine from my mom’s cookbook: it’s originally a recipe for delicious spice biscuits that have just the thin crunchiness I was looking for for my little shuriken. My husband’s palate favours plain flavours, so that’s why I left out the spices to make them vanilla biscuits instead. Here’s the recipe:

100 g butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 egg

2 T milk

1 1/2 t vanilla essence

2 1/2 C flour

1 t baking powder

Shuriken 2

 The method is as follows:

1. Beat butter and sugar together well.

2. Add in egg, milk and vanilla essence.

3. Sift in flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.

4. Leave in fridge to harden for 30–60 minutes.

5. Roll out dough thinly on a surface dusted with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar).

6. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters (or a sharp blade, homemade templates and a lot of patience!)

7. Bake on greased trays at 180 °C for 8–10 minutes until light brown, watching the oven so they don’t burn.

Shuriken 3

I soon did away with the smallest templates and replaced them with a small star-shaped cookie cutter that I happened to have. It took ages to carefully cut around my templates, but they looked so cool that I had to keep going – despite the varicose veins I could practically feel forming with the passing hours 😛

I baked a tray, tasted a few when they’d cooled down, and knew I’d found a winner.

Shuriken 4

But I wasn’t done yet. I didn’t just want the shapes to be reminiscent of shuriken; I wanted the colour to be similar too. So out came the silver edible glitter and silvered sugar crystals…

Shuriken 5

I mixed the glitter with a very thin icing sugar–water mixture, and painted it lightly onto the dry biscuits. Then I allowed them to dry completely again before storing them in an airtight biscuit tin. By the way, I’m sure these biscuits would be perfect as vanilla iced cookies, too, although they’re perfectly sweet and yummy as they are.

Absolutely moreish! Our guests devoured these in a flash: everyone loves a crunchy vanilla biscuit. And the great thing is that they kept very well, decorations and all. I made them a week ahead of the party and they were just as fresh and crispy as on the day they were baked 🙂

Shuriken 7

I’ll definitely be making these again, though probably without the intricate shapes and fancy icing. I hope you’ll try them too 🙂

Goal #43 – Just in time for Christmas

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As Christmas has rolled around (just saying that makes me think of the rolling around we’re likely to do after Christmas… all those festive feasts!), I’ve found an opportunity to accomplish another of the goals on my list. This time it was #43: Give someone a handmade gift. I’ve baked several batches of my favourite ginger biscuits and packaged them like this:

#43_a

I popped packets of 10 biscuits, tied with tinsel (or ribbon), inside small brown paper bags. Then, using mini wooden pegs from a craft shop, I pegged a pretty teabag (from Pukka) onto the bag.

Homemade Christmas gifts

As a final touch, I decorated the pegs with small silver charms of teabags, teapots and teacups:

#43_b

I’ve given these to quite a few friends I’ve seen so far, and plan on making a few more batches tomorrow in time for handing out on Christmas day. Homemade treats are such a cost-effective way of giving gifts, and the extra touches with the presentation have drawn as many exclamations of ‘Oh, wow!’ as the biscuits themselves!

#43_c

Easy crunchy ginger nut biscuits

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Omm nom nom nom! These are easily the best ginger biscuits you’ll eat, and so quick to make. The original recipe is here, but I made a few tweaks because I’d rather have more ginger and less of a bicarb aftertaste. Adding more golden syrup than the original calls for also makes the biscuits extra hard and crunchy, which I love. Ninja and I scarfed these in no time!

Ginger biscuits

125 g butter

1 C castor sugar

2 T golden syrup

1 egg

2 C self-raising flour

3–5 t ground ginger

1/2 t bicarbonate of soda

Ginger biscuit dough balls

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

2. Grease or line flat baking trays.

3. Sift the flour, ginger and bicarb together.

4. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sugar and syrup. Add egg and beat to mix.

5. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Mix well to make a uniform dough.

6. Place teaspoon-sized balls on the baking trays, leaving lots of space in between for spreading.

7. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until nicely browned.

8. Leave the biscuits to harden and cool on the tray.

 

Notes

1. I found that 5 heaped teaspoons of ginger gave the perfect flavour, but you can adjust it as preferred.

2. I skipped the step of rolling the dough balls in extra sugar, just to ease my conscience about these treats!

3. If you use self-raising flour, consider omitting the bicarb. Or you could use 2 cups of plain flour and 1 teaspoon of bicarb. I find tweaks like this are necessary because I don’t like tasting more bicarb than ginger.

4. My oven is a cranky old thing, so I can’t give a set time for baking; 15 minutes might do it for most ovens, but I just keep an eye on my baking until the ginger nuts are nicely browned.

5. I found this recipe makes about 40 medium-sized ginger biscuits.