For mothers day four years ago I got bought a biscuit piper. Stew had taken the boys shopping and Mr 7 was convinced that I wanted a biscuit piper as I had picked it up once when we were out shopping. So this was what I got. I had never really coverted one, but when your son buys you a present, you love it and embrace it and use it every time you can. And so I went in search of the ultimate piped biscuit recipe. I tried a few and had somewhat successful results. But they were all just okay.
Then I found a recipe for pipe-able butter biscuits, compared to the others the recipe was super simple, but I had everything I needed so I gave it a go. It was perfect. Melting, buttery, delicious, pipe-able biscuits. It was from an american site and everything was in ounces so I converted it to grams, typed it out on my laptop, saved it and used it nearly every week, it became my go to biscuit recipe. I loved it, I could make it in about 2 minutes and they baked in 7. Quick enough that if you have a friend ring and say she is popping over unexpectedly, you can use the 5 minutes before she arrives to shove toys into a cupboard, the ironing pile into the spare room (or the same cupboard) and check that the 3 men in your life have left the toilet in an acceptable state. All because you know that you can make biscuits in under 10 minutes whilst your friend makes the coffee.
So a perfect recipe....I knew it off by heart.........then one week the boys asked for muffins, and then another Stew asked for brownies and my wonderful butter biscuits got made a little bit less. I still made them and loved them, but they weren't the weekly staple and I started to need the recipe again when I made them.
About 18 months ago, my laptop took a fall. It decided to jump from the arm of the sofa. It was intact and working but the wireless was flaky. Some days it worked, some days it didn't. Then the mouse tracker pad went, again some days it worked, some days it didn't. (Sounds a bit like me and housework 😳 ) It was hard to use, fairly annoying in fact......Then one day it got replaced. Mr iPad entered my life and I stopped using my unpredictable laptop. I thought everything had been backed up. But my wonderful butter biscuit recipe didn't make it. I no longer remembered it, I googled, I searched but I couldn't find it again. I remember the site. It had pink hearts down the side but could I find it???? I thought it was lost forever. No recipe came close. They weren't my super simple, quick easy biscuit recipe. They were good but they weren't the ONE.
Then in a chance conversation with my mother-in-law (I mean the topic was chance not me talking to her. We text quite regularly) we were talking about baking and I remembered!!! During the biscuit filled hay days, they had come to visit and I had given her the recipe. Now she is old school, she has recipes written down and in a folder in her kitchen....................and my biscuit recipe was returned to me....Happy Days......get the kettle on it is time to make coffee so we can have biscuits....... Woopee
And so I share it with you now, so it will forever be available and can never be lost again.
I don't even pipe these anymore. I know!! I know....After the piper being the reason for them coming into my life, I have discarded the piping. I loved them piped but the clean up was a nightmare. The dough would get stuck inside the barrel and then you'd be washing butter rich dough out...that can't be good for the drains, or your soul! no one wants to waste sweet delicious biscuit dough!
So I have taken to rolling this into a sausage and just cutting it into disks. Super easy and super quick. It also works well rolled out into a slab and then cut with cookie cutters. The kids love doing that!
I discovered today that it takes food colouring well......or rather Mr 7 and Mr 3 discovered that. Mr 7 wanted to make a wand. (He is currently working his way through the Harry Potter books....and is a little obsessed) so we had to dye the mixture a dark brown colour (so appetising!!) and then make some blue sparks for the end. It worked well, but I have learnt that food colouring and children don't mix.
An obvious fact that I really should have thought of before Mr 7 turned his hands (and face!!!) bright blue. Can you send a child back to school with blue hands? I know they have a sensible hair colour policy.....wonder where they stand on blue hands? Seriously he looked like he was working as an extra on the Smurf movie! This looked great fun and Mr 3 decided he wanted in on the colour action so he made an orange circle, a green circle, a blue circle and one he described as gold...(I won't tell you what I thought it looked like!!!) They were Earth, Mars, Satellite and Sun. He names everything, bless him.
In between all this colour chaos, I managed to save enough dough to make 5 biscuits! That is right people, my baking for the week and I have 5 biscuits....that isn't going to fill many lunch boxes....might need to make another batch.
I use the food processor for this, as although I dislike washing it up, this takes seconds in the processor and you have the added bonus that you don't have to sift the icing sugar. (Which always makes a mess!) It isn't hard by hand, but will take a bit of time.
- 90g icing sugar
- 240g cold butter cut into cubes
- 270g plain flour
- 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/155°C fan forced/Gas Mark 4
- Add your icing sugar to the food processor and whizz until you have removed most of the lumps.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until you have a breadcrumb like texture.
- Remove the blade and squash the mixture down. It should come together into a dough almost instantly.
- Roll into a sausage shape (with a diameter about the size of a toilet roll tube.)
- If you have time, chill in the fridge for 20 minutes (this helps the biscuit to hold it's shape, but if you haven't got time for this step it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect the taste at all) The freezer for 3 minutes also works.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 1cm thick disks.
- Place the biscuits, well spaced, onto two baking sheets, lined with greaseproof paper. And bake for 7 minutes until just turning golden on the edge.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly (or completely...go on resist them...) before eating. When you remove them from the oven they will seem very soft in the centre, but they firm up as they cool.
If you want to make shaped biscuits using a cookie cutter, I have found the best way is to roll the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper and then chill it before cutting the shapes.
This dough freezes well, just ensure it is wrapped well and when you come to need it defrost it overnight in the fridge.