I had this peculiarly specific desire to make some biscuits that were crunchy rather than chewy. Nigella didn’t seem to have anything that fitted the bill, but I found this recipe in Rachel Allen’s “Bake” book that I got for Christmas, and have had good results with so far. When rolling out the biscuits (definitely the best part) I thought they looked oddly like small potatoes. Next time I won’t squash them quite so much so that they stay a bit rounder. While I was baking there was an enormous rainstorm, really quite spectacular and unexpected as it had been quite sunny all day. They came out brilliantly (if I say so myself), a lovely crisp mixture of sweet and spicy, exactly what I was after. As usual, the main problem with making biscuits is that I eat them, which isn’t terribly good for me. I did send some round to Sandeep and Pam though, and they are proving handy for bribing Zoë.
I’ve been baking some cookies for Christmas. Not your average tree decorations, I’ve been attempting to bake Alsatian “Bredele”, which might be called “petit-fours” in French. These have traditionally been baked at Christmas since the mid 15th century in Alsace. I’m working from a French recipe book called “Bredele et Gâteaux de Noël” by Thierry Kappler. So far I’ve made (I’m using the Alsatian names as they are more interesting!):
- Wiss un schwàrzi butter bredele (those chequered and spiral ones)
- Vanille hernle (litttle vanilla crescents, no picture as they, um, got tasted a bit too much)
- Spretz bredele (wiggly piped vanilla shapes)
- Hernele (a.k.a. Fer à Cheval, i.e horseshoes)
- Kokos Màkrone (coconut macaroons)
- Spetzbuewe (home-made jammy dodgers!)
I’ve run into a few problems; the coconut macaroons were looking perfect until I added the coconut, which made the meringue separate horribly in the piping bag; the hernele dough was far too crumbly to roll, so I added an egg; the spretz bredele dough was far too stiff to pipe; I don’t know if it’s my oven, but nearly all the recipes turn out undercooked, so I’m adding on about 50% cooking time.
I’ve still got a few more to do, but I’m pretty happy with how these are turning out; they certainly look nice!