Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Spice Biscuits

These yummy biscuits are lovely with a cup of tea, and have an aroma that easily wins me over to the 'must-eat-biscuits' cookie-monster dark-side. These biscuits are one of C's favourites - but then again, he loves most cakes and biscuits. J rather loves crumbling them - and some even gets eaten. They're also excellent as presents. It's the freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves that really does the trick - yes you can use pre-ground spices, but nothing beats that freshly ground smell.









Ingredients

2 cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
1/4 tsp shaved nutmeg
7/8 to 1 cup cornflour* + dusting
3/4 to 1 cup rice flour*
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g Nutalex or non-dairy margarine
splash of oil

* The amounts are hard to judge, but both extremes come out nicely - the more flour, the more 'cracking' in the biscuit, but it stays together quite nicely anyway.

Method

Prepare two baking trays in advance - I've found baking paper straight on a tray works fine, though if you want to, you can grease the trays. The oven should be set to about 160 degrees Celsius.

Put cloves, cinnamon and shaved nutmeg into a mortar and pestle, and grind into a powder.

Cinnamon stick, cloves and shaved nutmeg
Then combine Nutalex, oil and brown sugar in a bowl, and beat until the batter becomes smooth and a light brown in colour - Nutalex doesn't change colour much, so keep an eye on it. Also if you let it sit too long after combining, the oil will start to separate. If that happens, just stir it back into the mixture.

Add the egg and beat again. Then add vanilla and spices, and beat mix until well-combined.
Slowly add in rice flour and cornflour, alternating the flours with each addition. Mix well.

The batter should now have the consistency of a sticky dough and should be quite light. It will be a little bit more tacky than a normal biscuit batter - don't worry!
Lightly flour your hands, and scoop out a teaspoon of mixture. Roll into a ball and place on the baking tray. Do this till the trays are full, leaving room for a small amount of spreading - they may rise a little, but not much. Now press a fork lightly into the top of each biscuit - this creates a nice effect, and helps flatten the biscuits. You may need to dust the fork in flour to stop it sticking to the biscuits.
Biscuits ready to squish and cook

Bake until they change to a lovely light-golden brown. About 10-12 minutes. Though this cooking time will depend on the oven  - they cook very fast. (And I have a hot oven.)
Wait until a little cooler to take off the baking tray - they can be quite crumbly when fresh out of the oven, though they harden up a little. The more brown, the less crumbly.

When I made this batch, it made slightly under 30 biscuits. These biscuits should last 3 days - I tend to keep them in the fridge. Enjoy!

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