Nutty biscuits

20 Nov

Ginger nutty goodness

When I was wee my two favourite things to bake were peanut butter cookies and tollhouse cookies.  One of these days I’ll dig out the old recipes, if I can find them – the tollhouse cookies recipe I’m pretty sure was from my Aunt Joyce, a brilliant cook and a seriously good baker.  One of my happiest childhood memories is sitting on the bench at her enormous kitchen table while she made pancakes (drop scones to non-Scots) on the rayburn beside us.  It seemed to take her only minutes from having independent ingredients to  these perfect warm pillows of baked goodness, spread with homemade raspberry jam.  Yum.

Yesterday I saw a Jamie Oliver recipe for Nutty Ginger Biscuits, and realised it was a pimped up version of my old peanut butter cookies.  So, I made them this morning.  They are indeed a more sophisticated biscuit than mine ever were, but then it was the 70s when I was baking them, less sophisticated times, especially for rural 12 year olds.

This recipe makes a light crumbly biscuit, not a chewy cookie.  The clementine zest definitely adds a touch of class, and next time I make them I will add some ginger to the dough as well as the nubbin of the crystallised ginger on top.

The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s magazine and I’ll be making his Jerky Hocks later, with two enormous ham hocks.  If it works, I’ll share.  I’ve slightly adapted the cookie recipe here, so if you want the original you need to buy his lovely magazine.

Nutty Ginger Biscuits

250g unsalted butter, softened.

140g sugar (I used a mixture of half and half caster and light muscovado)

1 egg yolk (I’ll make meringues later with the white)

2 TBsp crunchy peanut butter (I added 3)

Grated zest of 2 clementines

300g plain flour

2-3 balls of stem ginger from a jar

A few TBsp of desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 180C / GM4. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper.

  1. If the room temperature of your kitchen is as cold a mine, soften your butter.  My mum will do this by leaving it near the rayburn for a while.  But she doesn’t bake any more, so it’s unlikely to happen.  I cut mine into big chunks, put it in the large bowl and zizzed it in the microwave for 40s at half power.  Don’t even attempt this recipe with hard butter
  2. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and creamy
  3. Add the egg yolk, clementine zest and peanut butter.  Jamie added some vanilla essence here too, but I forgot and they still tasted yummy
  4. Beat again till combined
  5. Sift in the flour, and mix all together with a large metal spoon.  or wooden would do I suppose.  But don’t use electric beaters – you are just combining at this stage, not attempting to beat more air into it (which I suspect would be self-defeating).
  6. Now, take dessertspoonful size nubbins of dough and evenly space them on the baking sheets.  Squish them down a little, so they are sort of cookie shaped.
  7. Put a wee bit of ginger into the top of each biscuit, and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.
  8. Bake for 9-12 minutes, till golden brown
  9. Let sit on the baking tray for a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Freezing biscuit dough.  Have you ever done it? I can’t say I have.  But Jamie says that these freeze well – just freeze them once they are on sheets of greaseproof paper in their rough cookie shapes.  Once frozen, they could probably be stored in a bag, or tub.  To cook from frozen, bake at 180C / GM4 for 10-15 mins till golden. Now, how brilliant would that be?  Must try harder not to bake them all at once next time.

4 Responses to “Nutty biscuits”

  1. Georgiana Wickham November 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    As a lifelong hater of peanut butter do you think hazelnuts would work instead?

    • shewolfinthevalley November 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

      I’m sure you could add chopped or ground hazelnuts or almonds, and perhaps reduce the amount of flour slightly instead. Or if you can get hazelnut butter, use that. Or Nutella? Would that work? Tastewise, Nutella would be lovely I think.

      I suspect it’s a fairly forgiving recipe, and you can change things within reason. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

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