I often crave baking biscuits but its normally when I'm feeling a bit lazy and don't have any softened butter to hand.
At times like these a quick mix bickie recipe is a life saver, especially when all you need is a food processor to do all the hard work for you.
I found this Lemon and Poppy Seed biscuit recipe in the delightful Alice in Bakingland cookbook by Alice Arndell. Alice, a finalist in New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker show, is a champion of real home baking as well as her local community. I found the book at the library and was instantly jealous of the gorgeous vintage styling and delicious sounding recipes. Alice also has a blog Alice in Bakingland where you'll find more of her recipes. It's definitely worth checking out.
Mum and dad had dropped off a big bag of home grown lemons last week and up until now they'd been serving as a charming still life arrangement on the dining table.
It felt good to put them to use. The finished biscuit is delightfully crisp with a light lemon tang and fragrance. Next time I think I'd add an extra lemon's worth of zest for a bit more of a zing. A drop or two of lemon essence when adding the eggs might also do the trick.
When I made these biscuits I popped the rolls into the freezer to firm up faster. The recipe recommended a minimum 2hrs chilling time. It was already quarter to three and I needed a snack ready for after school. They were firm in less than hour and it got me thinking that if I had divided the dough up into five rolls instead of three, I would have had a ready to slice bounty at my beck and call.
As it happens I only baked off half of one of the rolls so there's plenty stashed away in the freezer for whenever I get another case of the baking lazies (or when I remember at the last minute that it's my turn to bring a plate to CWA).
Whatever you do, make sure you brew yourself a special pot of tea to enjoy these little darlings. The poppy seeds make them a little more grown up and they're robust enough to survive a dunk or two.
Recipe: Lemon Poppyseed Biscuits
Original recipe by Alice Arndell, Alice in Bakingland (2013)
Makes about 40+ biscuits.
21/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
Zest of 2 lemons (although if you prefer a sharper lemon taste, bump it up to 3!)
2 Tblsp poppy seeds
180g cold butter, cubed
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- Put all of the ingredients, except the butter and eggs, into your food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix everything together.
- Add the cubed butter and process again until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the combined egg and egg yolk and process again until the dough starts to clump together.
- Tip the mixture out onto your bench and gently bring the dough together - you will been to squeeze and squash it a bit - and form it into a long log shape. The original recipe suggested a diameter of about 7cm but I prefer a daintier biscuit so I went for 4cm. The choice is completely yours (although the smaller diameter will give you more biscuits!)
- Cut your dough log into 4 or 5 sections and wrap each in plastic wrap. At this point you can roll the logs back and forth to give them a nice even round shape.
- Pop the logs into the fridge or freezer to chill completely. They'll take around 40minutes in the freezer or at least 2 hours in the fridge. (Of course at this point you can label and freeze your dough for another day if you don't plan to bake all the biscuits during this baking session.).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C and line your baking tray(s) with baking parchment.
- Remove dough roll for the fridge or freezer and slice into 5mm thick rounds. Place onto the tray and bake for 10-12 mins or until the biscuits have a lovely golden tint on their edges and the underside is just golden.
- Allow to cool completely on a rack before brewing a pot of tea to celebrate.