10. All kinds of Biscuits and Tart recipes
Quick and Easy Biscuits
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; alternatively grease a baking sheet with butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Toss butter into the dry ingredients until coated with flour. Working quickly and using your fingers or a pastry blender, rub or cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Alternatively, add flour mixture and butter to food processor and pulse 2 to 3 times to form pea-sized pieces; transfer to a large bowl.
Add milk and stir with a fork until it just comes together into a slightly sticky, shaggy dough.
For small biscuits: Using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop, mound walnut sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. For large biscuits: Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop, mound balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake biscuits until golden brown, about 15 minutes for small biscuits and 20 minutes for large ones. Let cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 20 small biscuits
1 quantity Basic biscuit dough See 'Goes well with' below
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp raspberry jam
6 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
icing, to decorate
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Make up the Basic biscuit dough, sifting in the cinnamon when you add the flour. Shape into 2 balls, wrap in cling film and chill for 20-30 mins.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, then stamp out 28 biscuits with a 7-8cm wide cutter. Lay these on non-stick baking sheets. Using a 4cm cutter, cut out the ‘noses’ from half the biscuits. Bake for 10-12 mins until pale golden, then lift onto a cooling rack.
Mix the raspberry jam with the sifted icing sugar. When the biscuits are cool, spoon a little of the jam onto each whole biscuit, then carefully sandwich the other biscuits on top. Serve as they are, or pipe icing, made with a little water, to draw funny faces.
Little jam tarts
500g sweet shortcrust pastry
20 tsp jam (we used apricot, blackcurrant and strawberry)
Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to just under the thickness of £1 coin. Stamp out 20 x 5cm circles using a pastry cutter and line 2 mini muffin tins (or make in 2 batches).
Prick with a fork and spoon 1 tsp jam into each (we used apricot, blackcurrant and strawberry). Stamp out shapes from the leftover pastry to decorate the tarts, if you like.
Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 12-15 mins, until the pastry is golden.
250g plain white flour
85g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
2 tbsp lemon curd
250g white icing sugar
1 tbsp strawberry conserve
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor. Whizz until the mixture forms crumbs, then pulse a little more until it forms a ball.
Spread a large sheet of baking parchment over the work surface and turn the dough onto it. Dust with a little flour, then roll out to about the thickness of two £1 coins. Stamp out 24 rounds using a 5cm round fluted cutter, then cut out the middles with the end of a piping nozzle. Carefully peel the rest of the mixture away from the stamped shapes. Lift onto baking sheets and bake for 10 mins until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Put the lemon curd into a bowl with 2 tbsp boiling water and mix until smooth. Sieve in 175g of the icing sugar; stir together to make a smooth icing. Put the strawberry fruit spread in another bowl and add 2 tsp boiling water, mix, then sieve in the remaining icing sugar. Spoon the lemon icing over the biscuits, then drizzle or pipe over the pinky icing. Leave to set for at least 20 mins. Will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight tin, longer if left un-iced.
Lady bug biscuits
175g plain flour
100g chilled butter, cubed
85g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
500g ready-to-roll fondant icing
red food colouring
100g icing sugar
black food colouring
edible pearly ball decorations
You will also need
8cm heart-shaped cutter
6cm heart-shaped cutter
Put the flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in a food processor. Dribble in 1 tbsp water and blitz until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together, then wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use your 8cm heart cutter to stamp out heart shapes – you’ll have to re-roll the trimmings to make 20 biscuits. Put the hearts on 2 baking trays and bake for 12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through, until pale golden and crisp. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Dye your lump of icing with red food colouring and wrap in cling film until ready to roll. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thick icing. Dye the icing with the black food colouring. Pour the icing into a piping bag with a small plain nozzle attached (or use a small sandwich bag and snip off the corner). Roll out the red icing to 3mm thick and use your 6cm cutter to stamp out hearts. Stick onto the biscuits with a little of the black icing.
Use the black icing to give your love bug a head at the pointy end, draw a line down the centre to give it wings, then add spots. Stick 2 pearly balls onto each love bug’s head, then leave to set on a wire rack. You can pack your love bugs into boxes or cellophane bags to give as gifts for Valentine’s Day.
85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
250g pack butter
½ x 397g can condensed milk
175g golden syrup
175g cornflakes, plus a few extra
175g porridge oats
250g plain flour
100g custard powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a few baking trays with baking parchment. Melt the butter, condensed milk and syrup in a large saucepan.
Very roughly crush the cornflakes in a bowl with your hands, then stir in the oats, flour, custard powder and bicarb, and mix really well.
Once everything in the pan has melted, take it off the heat and stir in the dry ingredients. Roughly scoop heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets. Crumble over a few more cornflakes, then squash to flatten a bit with your hands. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
450g strong white flour
1 tsp caraway seed
7g sachet fast-action yeast
100g oil-based margarine, melted
1 egg, beaten
Place the flour, ½ tsp salt, caraway seeds and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted margarine and 200ml warm water. Mix to combine all of the ingredients, adding more water or flour if needed, then knead for 2 mins to form a soft dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hr.
Once doubled in size, knead the dough for 1 min, then divide the mixture into 12 balls. Cut each ball in half and roll each piece into a thin sausage shape. Twist the 2 pieces together, then join the ends to form a circle. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 5. Brush the biscuits with a little beaten egg and bake for 10-15 mins until golden. Remove to cool on a wire rack, then turn the oven down to 110C/90C fan/gas 1⁄4. Once cool, return the biscuits to the oven and bake for a further 10 mins, then turn off the heat completely, leaving the biscuits in the oven to dry out for 2 hrs.
Fancy iced biscuits
For lime & vanilla biscuits
300g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
150g golden caster sugar
zest 3 limes
150g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
400g royal icing sugar
juice 1-2 lemons (about 75ml), or 2-4 limes
gel food colouring - we used orange, pink and yellow
Line a couple of trays with baking parchment and heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix together the flour, salt, caster sugar and lime zest (keep the zested limes for the icing). Add the butter and rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg and vanilla bean paste together with a fork, then mix into the other ingredients. Knead until even. Chill until firm, then roll on a lightly floured surface until about 4-5mm thick. Stamp out 8cm rounds, transfer to baking trays, then chill again for 15 mins before baking for 15-17 mins until golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before decorating.
For the icing, put the royal icing sugar into a bowl, add about 65ml lemon or lime juice and use a metal spoon or electric mixer to beat until it is fairly thick and glossy. If the icing is too thick though, it will be hard to pipe. Take a quarter of the icing, put into a piping bag fitted with a No 2 (very small round) piping nozzle and set aside. To see step-by-step images, please see the tips, below left, for a link to our guide page.
For the flood icing, add another 10ml lemon or lime juice to the remaining icing, a few drops at a time until it is pourable. You can now divide this icing into as many bowls as you like and colour by mixing in a little gel food colouring.
Place the coloured icing into three piping bags, ready for decorating.
To decorate the biscuits, use the thicker icing to draw your outline or design onto the biscuits. Let the icing set for a few minutes.
Pipe enough runnier icing to cover the entire biscuit – don’t worry about it being neat at this point. Use a toothpick to spread the icing evenly inside the hard icing ‘wall’. If the surface of the icing isn’t flat, gently shake the biscuit back and forth until you have a smooth covering.
To add a simple dot decoration, while the icing is still wet, use the runnier icing again to pipe dots again – this will sink on, leaving you with a smooth effect. Pop the biscuits onto a baking tray and place into an oven at its lowest setting for about 30 mins to allow the icing to set hard.
250g plain flour
85g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml clear honey
1 lemon, finely grated zest
pinch each ground cloves, grated nutmeg and black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
For the icing
100g icing sugar
1 egg white, beaten
Tip the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Heat the honey and butter in a pan over a low heat until the butter melts, then pour into the flour mixture along with the lemon zest. Mix well until the dough is combined and fairly solid. Cover and leave to cool.
Heat oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Using your hands, roll dough into about 30 balls, each 3cm wide, then flatten each one slightly into a disk. Divide the biscuits between two baking trays lined with baking parchment, leaving room for them to expand. Bake for 15 mins, then cool on a wire rack.
To ice the biscuits, mix together the icing sugar, egg white and 1-2 tbsp water to form a smooth, runny icing. Dip the top of each biscuit in the icing and spread with the back of a knife. Leave to dry out in a warm