A new normal

I’ll try and not make a habit of this; a blog post!

I know it’s been a while and I thank those who have been visiting the site over the last few months. Whilst the World is on pause for a while, whilst a solution or solutions are being sort for the virus, there have been a lot of people searching the internet for recipes. Baking at home has become a new normal for most across the world. I hope those that have visited this site have something that has inspired them or has been useful. After all, that’s what I set out to do. I hope to be able to continue to provide something for you, for as long as I can.

I also feel fortunate enough to have been able to source ingredients. I know some people have been having difficulties and now, some 10 weeks or so since lockdown began in the UK, groceries across the country are beginning to appear more regularly in supermarkets. So hopefully you will be able to recreate these recipes once again very soon. And if not, the page isn’t going anywhere; so when you can, you’re welcome back any time.

If you feel you can afford to buy me a coffee, to contribute to the site, please do so via the ‘contribute’ page. It will be very much appreciated.

And I’m not one for these long intro’s into a recipe, on the why’s and wherefores of mixing it this way or that, that ingredient over that or any such dribble, that no one really wants to read… just give me the ingredients and recipe.  But while i’ve got you………

An actual crisp biscuit that is gluten free! It took a couple of goes but I got there in the end. Especially after the first go had no vanilla essence in!

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5, 180c fan, 200c and line 2 or 3 Swiss roll trays with greaseproof paper

50g soft butter

60g caster sugar

1 medium egg

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

150g rice flour

50g gluten free plain flour (if your flour contains xanthan gum, DO NOT add any more)

half a level teaspoon of xanthan gum (only if it’s NOT in the flour)

1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream;

60g soft butter

130g icing sugar

splash of milk to make it pipe-able

80g raspberry jam ( or your favourite jam)

Simply beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until, light and fluffy, no more than a minute. Then add the egg and the vanilla and continue to beat until you have a smooth batter.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour, rice flour, bicarb and xanthan (if using) then using a spatula just mix this in until all the flours etc are fully mixed and the mixture forms a soft, ‘pastry’ dough ball.  Using your hands continue to bring together by ‘kneading’ for a few moments. You can’t really over work this dough, but it will help in the rolling out and keep it from crumbling.

Leave the dough for about 10 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

Remove the dough from the fridge and using a scattering of gluten free flour on your kitchen surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a one pound coin (2 – 3mm).

Then, using a specific jammie dodger cutter, or similar 5cm flutted cutter, cut out roughly 36 – 40 discs, placing them on the lined baking trays in rows of 4. You will need to gather up the remaining dough, bring it together again into  a ball and re-roll, in order to get the desired amount of biscuits.

Then using a smaller cutter ( a small heart shaped cutter that allows for the jam to be seen, once the biscuits are assembled) cut out the middle of half the biscuits. One will form the base the other the top.

Place one tray in the fridge and place one in the oven to cook for 6 – 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool; then repeat with the second tray and cook that for 6 – 7 minutes as well. Allow both trays to cool and you can start to make the buttercream.

Beat the butter with the icing sugar until you have a smooth paste. At this stage you could also flavour the buttercream; I’ll leave that up to you.

Once the biscuits are completely cooled, and using a piping bag filled with the buttercream, pipe a ring of buttercream on the half of the biscuits without the hole in the top.

Then with a couple of teaspoons, place in the middle of the ring, the raspberry jam. Top with the ‘holey’ biscuit and you’re done. You should have around 18 biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Halloween Biscuits

Love this time of year 👻🍁🍂🎃 (I might have said that before 😀😀)

These rather ghoulish biscuits are a great gluten free treat for any party or after getting back after some Trick or Treat’ing.

Gluten free biscuits can be a bit hit and miss, in terms of recipe and baking. Many a time I have tried a recipe only for the finished bake to be one big puddle of dough.  It’s all in the lack of gluten, there isn’t anything to hold it together. So I tend to look at a mix of flours, rather than alternative binding agents.

These can be put together relatively quickly and require no ‘resting’ or putting in the fridge.

100g soft butter

180g Caster sugar

1 large egg

200g Rice flour

160g cornflour

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Green, black and red colouring

Pre-heat your oven to gas 5/180c/170c fan.

Line 3 trays with greaseproof

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then beat in the egg, then essence.

Sift together the 2 flours and then stir into the fluffy mix, until you can bring the whole lot together to form a soft but firm dough ball.  Divide the mix into 2 and add you colouring as desired.

Roll out to your desired thickness, roughly the thickness of a pound coin, 2-3mm and cut out the shapes using your desired cutter.

Depending on the size of your cutter, this recipe will make approx 20-25 cookies/biscuits.

Place the raw cookies on the lined trays and bake, one tray at a time, for approx 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool before removing from the tray.

I decorated with red coloured glacé icing, but you are of course free to decorate as you wish.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate And Peanut Butter Biscuits

Gluten free biscuits are a bit of a nemesis when it comes to gluten free baking.

There is a little outside-the-boxing thinking required.

‘Normal’ biscuits are held together with gluten, simple. But just look at the makes up of gluten free flour and you’ll notice that there really isn’t anything there to do this. Now in some instances – mostly I have found with sponge cakes – you can just about get away with swopping out gluten free flour for normal flour. But with biscuits, that is not the case, in my humble opinion. Simply swopping out with gluten free flour gives you a puddle (once baked) on a tray, of cooked dough. Your cut cookies merge into one large piece of something…..

Some would say that adding xanthum gum is the way forward, but there are several arguments about the long-term effects on the body that this can cause. You can read that for yourself as I am not knowledgeable in those scientific matters. For me adding too much, can actually alter the taste, so I just add it to pastry, sparingly.

So thinking outside the box, what do you add? I simple terms, I know that my shortbread biscuits are pretty crispy, they have a ‘snap’. So by keeping to this relatively easy recipe a few tweaks and you have the basis for a gluten free biscuit.

So whilst the Country surges ahead with biscuits, as seen on the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, some of us would rather buy a packet of gluten free biscuits from the supermarket! I on the other hand struggle and strive to create something nice and edible, which I think I have found here 😀

And this was my second try at this……Dear author of a well-known bakery (2 books) in London take note….you cannot simply swop ingredients to create something for everyone. Instinctively I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I had to give it a shot. Wont be doing that again!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/165c fan and line 2 – 3 trays (dependant on size of tray) with greaseproof paper.

This receive will make about 20 single biscuits, or in the case 10 biscuits sandwiches.

  • 50g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 40g extra caster sugar

Filling;

  • 90g melted chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
  • 20g more of soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar

To make the biscuits, beat the sugar and butter with an electric hand-held whisk until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the 2 flours and beat until combined. Now you may find this ends up as ‘breadcrumbs’, which is fine, just stop with the whisk and get your hands dirty and bring the mix together to form a dough. It will feel a little dry, but it’ll work.

With the dough break of small pieces, roughly 15-20g each, roll into a ball and place on your trays roughly 5cm apart. Once you have used up all the dough, dip the base of a small glass into the extra caster sugar and then press down on the balls of dough to slightly flatten them into biscuits. If they do stick, release them from the glass using a butter knife.

Bake in the oven for about 9-12 minutes, there should be little or no browning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before removing from the tray and placing onto your cooling rack.

To make the filling, which is rather fudge like – you are not going to be able to pipe this.

Beat the butters together, then beat in the icing sugar and pour in the melted chocolate. You should have som thing resembling fine breadcrumbs, but you need to then bring this together with your hands to form a ball.  From this, roll small balls of fillings, roughly 20g each, and use to sandwich between 2 biscuits. Repeat until you have filled all the biscuits.

Cover or serve.  They should last 2 – 3 days, if they haven’t all been eaten first.

Gluten Free Chocolate Tiffin

Is it me or does the humble fridge turn into the Tardis around this time of year? Despite having spent Christmas away from home, there is still a fridge full of food. Have we planned well? Or have we planned too much? We are, it seems, ready for anything and anyone.

Gluten Free Chocolate Tiffin

Who knows (see what I did there?😀) why there is so much food, but sometimes you have lots of little bits that don’t quite add up to a whole meal or dish, just lots of little meals that are no good to anyone. As we strive to ensure we waste as little as possible, it sometimes helps to have a little imagination and try something that you haven’t tried before. It might just work…..

This little recipe will help to use up some of those little bits to make something of a treat for this coming, or anyway, weekend. Chocolate Tiffin always goes down well whatever the occasion, and with the added topping on this one, it took no time at all to disappear.

Firstly line a small brownie tin with cling film (around 25cm long, 20cm wide and around 3cm deep).

360g Melted chocolate ( I used Dark  Chocolate – you could use up some of the chocolates from the selection boxes….just saying..)

100g Soft butter – melted

2 tablespoons of golden syrup – warmed

130g gluten free biscuits (I used chocolate chip cookies, but digestives, custard creams will work just as well) – crushed.

130g dried fruit

Remaining chocolate and sweets of your choice to decorate.

Melt 180g dark chocolate with the 100g of butter. I put these in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water – ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water and the water is just simmering. Stir gently and frequently so that the mix combines and melts evenly. Warm the syrup separately in the microwave. I have found that melting all three together can make the mix come out rather lumpy – it could just be me….

Remove from the heat and (add the syrup if you have warmed this separately) continue to mix until the three ingredients are combined well. Stir in the crushed biscuits and the dried fruit. Pour into the prepared tin and leave to set.

Meanwhile melt the remaining dark chocolate (you can also melt this in short 30 second bursts in the microwave. But do stir between each burst of energy, as you’ll find that around the 3rd burst, the remaining heat from the chocolate will finish off, and melt the chocolate. Don’t over heat it or will burn.

The chocolate biscuit mix should have set enough for you to pour and spread the newly melted chocolate on top.

Scatter on your selection of sweets and treats before the chocolate topping completely sets. I used a mix of Reece’s Pieces, Gourmet Jelly Beans, Kinder Chocolate and marshmallows. But really, the choice is wide and yours to choose. Allow the Tiffin to completely set before removing on the tin and cutting. I would set at room temperature overnight, it will be easier to cut than if you leave it set in the fridge.

Happy New Year to all, thanks for reading. Maybe tell and friend and spread the word.😀😀🎉

 

Gluten Free Star Biscuits

Biscuits, for  me the gluten free baker, are a bit of a devil.

The lack of gluten to hold the ingredients can prove a little tricky during baking as the mix just doesn’t hold and the ‘biscuits’ flood the baking tray. You’re left with a very tasty slab of biscuit.

So you have to think a little differently and a little outside the box sometimes. A little less of this and a little more of that. Trial and error. At least that’s what I’ve found.

I’ll keep at it, but I’d like to share this recipe with you in the meantime. You can of course eat these as simple biscuits without putting a filling in or drizzle some sauce on.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and make sure the shelf is in the middle of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof, or get sheets ready to put on baking sheets when you have cooked a tray of biscuits. This recipe will make about 20 biscuits, but that’ll depend on how big your cutter is.

Gluten Free Star Biscuits

100g butter

100g caster sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

180g Gluten free Plain flour

100g Rice flour

Filling –

80g soft butter

160g Icing sugar – I used Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar. The Cherry Bakewell Icing is Gluten free.

Your choice of jam

Cream and the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the beaten egg and the essence. Stir in the flours until well combined and you have a lovely dough.

Place this on a floured surface and roll out to you desired thickness – about as thick as a pound coin.

Using your cutter of choice, gently cut out your shapes. Use a smaller cutter of the same shape and press into half of the biscuits to get a ‘hole’ – a bit like the Jammie dodgers you see. When done, you can bring the ‘bits’ together, form another dough ball and roll out again. Repeat again of needs be. Place your cut shapes on the greaseproof.

Before baking you need to rest the cut shapes in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Once rested, bake one tray at a time for about 8 minutes. Once cooked leave the trays of baked biscuits to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the greaseproof. They need to set and rest otherwise they’ll break and bend.

To make the buttercream beat the soft butter until fluffy then stir in the icing sugar before beating again – I used a hand-held electric whisk – until nice and smooth. Fill a piping bag using a plain nozzle.

To make the gluten free Bakewell Biscuits – pipe a little of the buttercream onto half of the biscuits – the ones without the hole, leaving a little gap in the middle for the jam. Put half a teaspoon of jam into the little space and then top with the holey biscuit.

If you want to buy some lovely flavoured icing sugars, the link is here. There is a fantastic range of flavours to get your imagination going.

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Mrs Darlington’s Jams, curds and pickles are now available on-line too.

http://www.mrsdarlingtons.com