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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pretty Rose Biscuits

As the summer holidays draws to a close (and I start sixth form next week) I felt the need for a nice summery biscuit which echoes all that is great about this time of the year. Smells which reflect an English cottage garden; delicate in both flavour and colour - these pretty biscuits are a huge step away from the giant chocolate chip cookies which predominantly own the 'cookie scene'! 

I'm not saying that those chewy chunky biscuits don't have a rightful place in our lives...but sometimes we all just need a dainty, rose-scented biscuit to make the perfect addition to our afternoon teas. Or maybe make them as a present, say, for a baby shower. 

This recipe is from The Primrose Bakery Book by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas...which by the way is an amazing book and definitely worth the buy! 

The recipe says to sandwich 2 biscuits together with a thin layer of  icing in between, but I decided that there was enough icing to contend with just on the top - thank you very much! However that would explain why there was sooo much icing left over (ooopps basically I just forgot and didn't read the recipe properly) but sshhh no one needs to know that. (Wouldn't get passed the great British bake off judges though would it?!)  

But anyway it all worked out quite well in the end. And twice as many finished biscuits instead! I do think I made them quite thick though, didn't expect them to rise as much as they did. But all in all they taste damn good! 

Primrose bakery also tells you to use crystallized rose petals to decorate, but as you can see I did not. As I found dried edible rose petal sprinkles in a Waitrose aisle, (clink this link here to buy them). Which are easy enough (and cheaper!!) to find unlike their crystallized sister who has to be bought from specialist bake stores.  

Note: if you are using different-sized cutters, the cooking time will vary. Smaller biscuits will need to be removed from the oven sooner.

Different varieties of rose water vary in strength.  Primrose Bakery recommend a strong one, Star Key White, available from Waitrose. If using a weaker one, remember to increase the quantities recommended below to achieve the same taste. However I used Nielsen Massey brand and I felt that it was strong enough.

Rose Biscuits

Ingredients (makes approx. 15 finished biscuits)

85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp rose water
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder


 
Rose water icing:
450g icing sugar
1 tsp rose water
About 6tbsp hot water
Pink food colouring (optional)


Method


Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and the rose water and beat again. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder together. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture and beat gently until well combined.

The resulting dough should be not too sticky which would make it too difficult to roll out - if it is, add more flour, just a tiny bit at a time.

Gather your dough together and wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

When you are ready to make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4/ 350°F and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 5mm. You may need to add a little more flour. Using a circular biscuit cutter, about 5.5cm in diameter, cut out as many biscuits as you can from the dough. Place the biscuits on the baking trays, about 1cm apart. Bake for 10-12mins until golden brown. 


Once they are cooked, transfer them to a wire rack to cool fully before icing and assembling. 

To make the rose water icing- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the rose water and then beat in enough hot water to make a stiff paste. If using colouring, add a drop or two to the icing and beat again. This should be plenty to give a beautiful pale pink colour.

When the biscuits are cool, sandwich 2 biscuits together with a thin layer of the icing in the middle and another on top. Finish with edible rose petals or a crystallized rose petal. 

Any uneaten biscuits will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.




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