So here we are again, week two of #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff and I’m still standing (just). But before I get into the ins and outs of this week’s biscuit bake, can we just take a moment to talk about how good the first episode of GBBO was? It really is one of my top views on the tellybox and I’m actually rather sad that I’m going to be out tonight and won’t be able to watch the episode in real time (no spoilers please!). It occurred to me the other day that Mel and Sue’s presenting style should be really annoying. If someone described it on paper I’d be making a mental note to avoid, but somehow they come across as comedy genius, possibly my favourite presenting duo ever and two of the loveliest people on the planet – I’d rather like to be in their gang if I’m honest.
Even after only one episode a few personal favourites are emerging. Norman mainly for his dry Scottish wit and ability to put Paul Hollywood in his place – ‘What did you think of the homemade jam?’ – go Norm. I also like the no nonsense approach from Nancy and I have a feeling handsome Irish fella Iain could be a dark horse. Oh it’s all so exciting!
Anyway back to the matter in hand and with week two’s show approaching, it was time for me to get back in the kitchen for another round of blogger baking, and this time saw us tackle the humble biscuit.
I’m not going to lie folks, this biscuit lark very nearly ruined me. If I was in the tent I’d have been crying in a corner, while Mel and Sue to tried to resurrect my disastrous attempt at an edible cookie. I have to say that biscuits aren’t something I find myself baking very often, and now I understand why – they are fiddly, difficult to perfect and a nightmare to figure out when cooked – just as well it wasn’t one of those ‘all 36 must be identical in size and shape’ challenges or I would have lobbed my wooden spoon across the kitchen and stormed out.
I chose what I thought was a fairly simple biccie – the Viennese biscuit. I’d originally set my heart on a traditional Viennese whirl, but simplified the recipe to the plain biscuit when my lack of time wasn’t favouring the cream and jam elements. To jazz it up slightly and ensure Paul and Mary couldn’t give me the ‘too simple’ criticism I adapted the recipe to create an orange flavour to the biscuit, because, just in case you haven’t experienced the combination that is orange and dark chocolate, it’s a winner! So what went wrong you ask? Well for starters I wasn’t planning to be rustling up a mix at nearly midnight on a Monday night (not the relaxing Sunday afternoon bake I normally enjoy) but after a busy weekend and too much work to catch up on, needs must. Then there was my accidental use of ‘strong white’ flour instead of ‘plain’ flour resulting in the worlds stodgiest biscuit mix that was quite simply refusing to go through anything that resembled a piping bag. After three terrible attempts at piping the world’s ugliest biscuit shapes, I gave in and googled ‘what to do when your viennese biscuit mix is too thick’ and (thank goodness for google) got the answer I needed – a splash of milk should do the trick. A splash for me ended up being half a pint but eventually I did get something which could be squeezed through the piping nozzle.
Not my best ever bake but perfect with a cuppa all the same, hopefully with the below recipe you can avoid the mistakes I made.
You will need…
250g unsalted butter
55g icing sugar
225g plain flour
zest of 1 orange
300g of good dark chocolate
How it’s done…
1. Weigh out your butter and leave it out of the fridge to soften it slightly before adding the flour, icing sugar and cornflour.
2. Using a wooden spoon (and a lot of elbow grease!) beat together until it reaches a soft creamy paste.
3. Grate in the zest of 1 large orange and mix (if your mix still looks rather thick which mine definitely did, add a splash, or as much as is necessary, of milk to loosen it up a little)
4. Spoon the mix into a piping bag and use a star nozzle to pipe your biscuits onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (for the traditional shape pipe in a curly motion, but if an amateur like me, you may find the straight biscuit shape easier to master).
5. Make sure the biscuits are evenly spaced out on the tray as they may expand when baking.
6. Bake at 170C for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.
7. Leave to cool and then dunk the ends into melted dark chocolate and allow to dry on a piece of greaseproof paper (you can put in the fridge if you like but the chocolate may lose it’s shine and Mary wouldn’t be impressed).
8. Make yourself a cuppa (or a hot chocolate for extra indulgence) and enjoy!
Thankfully despite their rather haphazard appearance, they tasted delicious and the addition of orange zest was a clearly genius move!
Be sure to check out the other bloggers taking part in the bake off: Laura, Megan, Charlotte, Abi, Shannon, Hannah, Kirsty, Amy Marie, and Alice and see what they come up with too. And as always catch up on everything by searching the hashtag on Twitter (#TheGreatBloggerBakeOff) or by joining the Facebook group.