Do you ever see a recipe and know you just have to make it? To the point that you can’t rest until it’s been made? Yes? Me too! And so it happened that I was browsing the always-excellent Pioneer Woman’s recommendations for Cookie Week and came across this lovely recipe on The Kitchn. I had been intending to make something with chocolate, the chocolate chips were sat on the shelf ready to be used but somehow this recipe got stuck in my head. And so I found myself extending my walk home despite the cold (-6°!) and snow just so I could buy and orange. Why do I do this to myself?
Well these gently spiced biscuits were worth braving the cold for. Accompanied by a cup of tea they make a tasty, warming snack after a walk in the snow. The balance of spices is just right, there’s heat from the ginger and pepper and a beautiful fragrance from the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I also loved the contrasting texture of the soft biscuits and the crunchy orange sugar topping which adds another level of yumminess.
Of course, being me I did make a small change to the original recipe. While I didn’t mind a short diversion to get an orange, there was no way I was heading in to town to hunt down molasses so golden syrup made a fine substitute. I imagine molasses or treacle would give these biscuits a real depth of flavour but I liked them just fine with the golden syrup.
Spiced biscuits with orange sugar
Adapted (a little) from www.thekitchn.com
Makes about 24 biscuits depending on the size and shape of cutter.
- 115g unsalted butter
- 80g soft brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 60ml golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 225g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- zest of 1 orange
- 60g Demerara sugar
In a large bowl cream together the butter and soft brown sugar then beat in the egg and vanilla.
Sift over the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and stir into a firm dough. Next mix in the golden syrup (this is easier if you warm it a little first).
Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours in the fridge (or less if you stick it outside in the snow). The dough needs to be well chilled when you roll it out; as it warms up it will become too soft and sticky to work with.
Meanwhile, mix the Demerara sugar and orange zest in a small bowl.
Heat the oven to 180°C. Roll the dough out to about 5mm thickness and cut out shapes. Holding them over the bowl, sprinkle the shapes with the orange sugar and place on a lined baking tray.
Bake for 8-10mins until firm around the edges and set in the middle. Leave the biscuits to cool for a few minutes on the tray before transferring them to a cooling rack.
While baking, the orange sugar fuses to the biscuit so it doesn’t all fall off when you come to eat them. If you made a hole in each biscuit and tied them with red ribbon they would look very pretty and sparkly on a Christmas tree.