Gingernuts, Muesli Cookies and Cheese Sablées

Image of cookies in a tin

Home-made biscuits are so delicious and so quick and easy I really should make them more often. The trouble is they’re so tasty I can usually scoff a whole batch unaided and I really can’t afford a whole new wardrobe.

But for those of  more abstemious habits and for the naturally slim, here are three of my favourites. They’re all based on recipes from the late and much-lamented Katie Stewart.

Stem Ginger Biscuits

  • Servings: makes 24-36 biscuits
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This is a basic gingernut recipe with added stem ginger for a double whammy.  Try not to eat them until they’ve had time to crisp up, they really do taste better that way …

Image of flour sifted into a bowl

Ingredients:

4 oz (100g) butter

4 oz (100g) castor sugar

4 oz (100g) or 2 rounded tbspns golden syrup

8 oz (225g) plain flour

1 level tspn bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

1 level tspn ground ginger

4-5 chunks of preserved stem ginger, briefly rinsed of their syrup, dried on a piece of kitchen roll and diced.

Image of golden syrup drizzled into a pan containing butter and sugar

Method:

Heat the oven to 350F/180c/Gas 4.

Grease two or three baking sheets – this is supposed to make 36 biscuits but I never get more than a couple of dozen.

Put the butter,sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the mixture’s blended. Allow to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, bicarb, salt and ginger into a mixing bowl. Add the saucepan mixture  and the chopped stem ginger and work to a soft dough.

Image of cookie mixture in a bowl

Form into balls the size of a walnut and place well apart on your baking sheets to allow for them spreading during cooking.

Image of cookie mixture rolled into balls on baking sheet

Bake for about 15 minutes – they burn easily so keep an eye on them.

Allow them to cool on the baking sheets for a minute then transfer to a wire rack using a palette knife. They will crisp up as they cool.

Image of cooked biscuits cooling on a rack

Muesli Cookies

  • Servings: makes around 24-36 biscuits
  • Print

These came about because a succession of friends had been to stay and for some reason left behind industrial quantities of the eponymous breakfast cereal.

We don’t eat it much so it sat in the cupboard looking reproachful until one day I was feeling both thrifty and creative.

Ingredients:

4 oz (100g) butter

4 oz (100g) demerara sugar

2 oz (50g) or 1 rounded tblspn golden syrup

4 0z (100g) self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 level tspn bicarbonate of soda

5 oz (125g) muesli (or substitute 4 0z/100g rolled oats and 1 oz/25g finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts)

Image of muesli cookies on a plate

Method:

Preheat oven to  350F/180C/Gas4.

Put butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan on a low heat and stir until blended. Allow to cool slightly.

Sieve flour, bicarb and salt into a mixing bowl, stir in the muesli, then add the mixture from the pan and mix to a dough.

Grease two or three baking sheets – again,  this is supposed to make 36 biscuits but this time I only got 20.

Spoon out rounded teaspoons of the mixture and form into balls the size of a walnut. Place 12 on each baking sheet, spacing them well apart to allow for spreading.

Place in preheated oven and bake for around 15 minutes. Swap the baking sheets over if necessary to get them all lightly browned.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a minute then remove with a palette knife to a rack and leave until completely cool.

They’ve turned out a bit peculiar in the picture above – normally they spread more and don’t look like rock cakes 😦

Cheese Sablées

These are a sort of cheese shortbread but it sounds better in French. They are incredibly more-ish and very good with pre-dinner drinks.

Image of a glass of fino sherry and a selection of sablee biscuits on a pewter plate

Ingredients:

6 oz (175g) plain flour

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 oz (100g) butter

3 oz (75g) grated parmesan or other hard cheese

1 egg yolk

1 tblspn cold water

Topping:

1 egg white

Poppy seeds, caraway seeds or chopped nuts for sprinkling  (or just pop a pistachio kernel on the top).

Image of ingredients in a food processor

Method:

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the cayenne and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Add the butter in pieces and rub in with the fingertips (or use a food processor). Stir in the grated cheese.

Lightly mix together the egg yolk and water, add to the flour mixture and mix to a rough dough. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead just long enough to remove the cracks.

Image of dough formed into a roll for chilling

Shape into a roll about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Wrap in cling film and chill the dough until firm.

Heat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Grease three baking sheets.

With a sharp knife, slice the dough about 1/4″ (5 mm) think and place 12 rounds on each sheet.

Image of the biscuit dough being cut into slices

Lightly beat the egg white and use to brush each round, then sprinkle with the topping(s) of your choice.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool on sheet for one minute then transfer to a wire rack and leave until they’re completely cool. If you can.

Image of an almost empty biscuit tin

2 thoughts on “Gingernuts, Muesli Cookies and Cheese Sablées

  1. I have just made the Muesli Cookies and they are very tasty indeed. I had to make a couple of substitutions – honey for syrup and brown sugar for demerera – as I didn’t have all the ingredients. But I was determined to make them as they made me hungry just looking at the pictures! So, thank you Mrs Portly, they are delicious..!. Please keep the recipes coming….

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