Monday, February 04, 2013

Stamping biscuits

Well three weeks of IVs and a couple of nights in Papworth are finally done and finished and I can get back to baking and sewing and nice non-cf related stuff.  Mr EB got us a new oven for Christmas and at last I got to bake with it. It's a John Lewis, lovely, boring, standard oven with a normal door, a window I can see through and a working light- bliss! And no more burning my arms! (If you are wondering what I am going on about then see my previous post.)
A normal oven - at last!
I recently bought a biscuit stamp from Hobbycraft (I cannot manage to go into that shop without buying something!) so I thought I would try it out with my new oven.  I used a recipe for refrigerator biscuits from my Leith's baking bible, as to stamp patterns into a biscuit you need a recipe that doesn't rise too much or spread as the pattern will disappear. This recipe has no raising agent in it so it seemed like a good place to start.  It's very buttery which does make it rather sticky, so by the time I was finished the kitchen was liberally sprinkled with flour and icing sugar to reduce the dough sticking to everything.   I made the biscuits in two batches as the butter in the dough started to melt a soon as it is removed from the fridge.  The first batch I stamped in the way recommended on the stamp's instructions.  You roll the dough into a golf ball sized lump that you flatten a little, then stamp flat. It's quite difficult to get them all the same thickness as unless you make each ball exactly the same size they all come out a bit different, and I was not on the mood to weigh them all and adjust so the results were a little non uniform.  

Batch 1 - ready to be cooked
Edges are a bit rough, but the message is clear!
Batch 1, fresh from the oven.
The first batch did spread a bit, as you can see from the picture above.  I know I got the tray the wrong way up to read the message before anyone points it out!  However, as you can see from the close up below it is fairly legible.

With the second batch I tried a slightly different technique. I rolled the dough out and then stamped several biscuits and cut round them with a knife. It would have been even easier with a round cookie cutter but non of mine were the right size. I did the last two as stamped golf balls as the dough had warmed so much by then that it would not stop sticking onto the rolling pin... I also re chilled the stamped biscuits on the baking sheet for 10 minutes or so to firm the dough up before I baked it so it didn't spread as much as the first batch which I think did actually help. I do think the second batch look a bit neater with clearer lettering. They are really rather good biscuits, especially dunked in tea, being very nicely flavoured of lemon and vanilla. I think I'll probably put in more lemon next time as it was as but too subtle for me. The next recipe I'm going to try with the stamp is shortbread as that is traditionally stamped or patterned with a mould so may take the lettering even better than these. It's all just an excuse to make more biscuits!

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