Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lazy Cow Rich Tea Biscuits #CreativeCookieExchange

Rich tea biscuits are a British classic, baked up crispy so they are perfect for dunking in a cup of hot tea. Use my "lazy cow" method to avoid rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters.

In the many years I’ve been watching the Great British Bake Off or GBBO as it’s known for short, I’ve learned a lot about British classics as well as traditional baked goods from other countries. Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are both a wealth of baking knowledge.

There’s just one thing I have to disagree with. Paul maintained throughout the series (and I’ve heard him say it elsewhere also) that the difference between biscuits and cookies is that biscuits are crisp, while cookies are softer.

But if we are talking American English, biscuits are fluffy baked quick bread akin to British scones and cookies can be both crisp and soft. In all my many years of visiting the British Isles and hanging out with British friends, I have never heard them use the term “cookie” for anything traditional that they bake.

I tell you all this as a preamble to today’s bake. They are indeed crispy, so even Paul Hollywood would call these rich tea biscuits. That said, traditional rich tea biscuits are rolled out and cut into circles. Which is my least favorite way of making cookies or biscuits. Blessedly, the circle is the classic shape for these guys, so I rolled the dough into a log, partially froze it, and then sliced it into circles. So these are my “lazy cow” rich tea biscuits. To everyone else who hates to roll dough, but loves rich tea biscuits, you are welcome.

Adapted from this recipe on The Baking Bar, where David does it the old-fashioned way. Because he's not a lazy cow. Apparently.

Ingredients – for about 14-15 large biscuits
2 cups or 250g plain flour
1/3 cup or 75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch fine salt
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line your baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone liners and set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the butter, cut into cubes.

Use your fingers or a pastry blender to mix in the butter till the mixture looks like crumbs. My kitchen is always too warm and my hands are too hot, so I use the pastry blender.

Add in the milk and the vanilla and use a fork to combine.

Use your hands to bring it all together into a firm dough.

Roll the dough into a thick log about 2 3/4 in or 7cm in circumference, shaping the ends flat.

Wrap it in cling film and pop it in your freezer, standing it on one end so that the log retains a nice cylindrical shape. Set a timer for about 40 minutes.

When the timer is nearly up, preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Use a sharp knife to cut the log into slices about 1/4 in or 1/2cm thick. I find a sharp serrated knife works best because you can "saw" the slices off without pressing the log out of shape, which gives more circular circles, if you know what I mean.

Put your dough circles on the prepared baking pans, leaving room for some expansion as they bake. I used a toothpick to make little holes all of the circles, just like the store-bought rich tea biscuits but I could have saved myself some time because they weren't really visible after baking. Feel free to skip this step.

Bake for about 8-9 minutes in your preheated oven. Ideally, you want them baked through but not brown. Mine are a little darker around the edges than a classic rich tea biscuit should be.

Leave to cool for a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to a metal rack to cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool.

Enjoy with a cup of tea!

If you like cookies or biscuits with your tea, you are going to love this month's Creative Cookie Exchange link list. Check out all the great teatime treats we have for you today!

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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