As you may know, I have one or two cookbooks lying around and I haven’t actually got around to making absolutely all of the recipes contained therein.
But I’m working my way through slowly – and it’s just fabulous when I discover little gems like the recipe this week, tucked away as it was in a nondescript little booklet from the 1940s.
For a start, I have all the ingredients in the cupboard. I just LOVE it when that happens. It s a great irritation to find something delicious to make, only to discover a trip to the shops is required. So these are a great ‘spur of the moment’ bake.
Second, the recipe doesn’t make a whole mountain of biscuits – I got just twelve out of this batch. And they’re so fast to put together – little bit of melting/warming of liquids, chuck in the dry ingredients and you’re done. Even taking the time to pretty their appearance up doesn’t take long, and with 12 minute cooking time, you can be dunking them in a cup of something hot in not much more than 20 minutes.
Also – oats. LOVE oats in a biscuit – they make them it so crunchy and satisfying. Great energy snacks too. I can just imagine these biscuits being stuffed into pockets to snack on during invigorating afternoons tramping about the countryside.
And then we come to the main reason this recipe caught my eye. The lard. Yes – I did a double take too. But it works beautifully – and deliciously. And for me it also absolutely makes it a biscuit of country origin. Back in the day, not everyone could keep a cow – but most cottagers would have a pig, and once butchered for the winter, a ready and plentiful supply of lard. If you really can’t face it, you could try butter, but I haven’t tried it myself, so do let me know how it goes if you do.
56g golden syrup
28g demerera sugar
56g plain flour
56g wholemeal flour
56g medium oatmeal
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
grated zest of a small lemon – or of half a large lemon
1/2 tsp salt
6 almonds – halved
- Preheat the oven to 175°C, 150°C Fan.
- Put the lard and the golden syrup into a small pan over a low heat to melt/warm
- Mix all the other ingredients together.
- When the lard has melted, tip in the dry ingredients and stir to combine. You’ll end up with a moist paste.
- Divide mixture into 12. I have a small-ish ice cream scoop which was perfect at portioning out the mix. Roll into a ball then flatten slightly. Place half a split almond on each biscuit.
- Put the biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 12 minutes, turning the baking sheet round 180 degrees halfway though the cooking time. The biscuits should be just browning around the edges when done. They might seem a little soft, but will crisp up beautifully as they cool.
- Lift the biscuits from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.