5 January 2013

Über Vanilla Biscuits

As you may be able to tell from the Christmas-themed wrapping paper under these biscuits, I made these as a Christmas present for my mum. She is a big fan of all things vanilla, so I wanted to make something special.

These may look like ordinary biscuits, but they're called über vanilla for a reason - I made them with vanilla sugar as well as vanilla essence. This was my first real encounter with vanilla beans as they are normally a little out of my price range, but I thought I'd make an exception since my mum deserved a treat!

Vanilla sugar is very easy to make; I used one vanilla pod per 100g caster sugar. Split the vanilla pod, stirred the seeds into the sugar and put everything, including the pod, into a jar. Seal the jar, then after about a week the sugar will have become infused with vanilla flavouring. This is a great way to add some extra vanilla to your life as you could even use it in tea and coffee.

From what I hear, the biscuits were very successful in that they taste very good with a high dose of vanilla flavouring to boot. I might have tried some of the dough, and though I'm not the biggest fan of vanilla I thought it still tasted pretty good.

The recipe was adapted from a BBC Food gingerbread recipe (the same one I used for my Cinnamon Biscuits), though I changed a lot of the ingredients.

Makes 30

  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 125g Butter
  • 175g Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add the vanilla sugar and butter. Use the tips of your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the egg, vanilla essence and milk. The mixture should come together to form a dough, but if it is still dry add a little more milk.
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge, remove clingfilm and roll out over a floured surface.
  • Use a cookie cutter (I used a plain circular one) to cut the dough into the shapes you want your biscuits to be in. After the first few rounds of cutting there should be some dough left around the edges, which you can roll into another ball before rolling out again and repeating the process.
  • Place the dough pieces on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, then put them in the fridge for another 20 minutes to help them hold their shape when baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • Bake the biscuits in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until they just start to brown. They will still be soft when they come out of the oven and will harden as they cool.

I can't make anything new and exciting for the next few weeks because I'm on exam lock down, so in the mean time I'll be telling you about some more Christmas presents that I made for my family. It may be just as well that I can't show you my baking at the moment, however, as the other day I forgot to put eggs in a batch of muffins I whipped up to use up some eggnog

I'll be back next week with something full of chocolate!

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