Friday, May 28, 2010
Anyway, after a week of privation with ration book cooking, it was definitely time for something decadent. Something that would melt in the mouth and make me feel good and just a bit naughty. Something that photographed well and didn't look just a little like the dog's dinner. It had to involve chocolate and I particularly had a hankering for a good biscuit. Was I hoping for too much?
Let me just say first that I've never been that into biscuits, with a few exceptions. I used to love Oreos, Chocolate Wheatens and those thin, plain coffee biscuits that were so good for dunking. Otherwise, I can take or leave the average biscuit, or even the fancy ones for that matter. For some reason, I suddenly had to have a biscuit I could ravish. Not the bought type either, but the home cooked, rich, delicious kind. And they had to be gluten free.
To add to my list of exacting demands, I decided that nothing less than a gluten free biscuit that didn't taste like a gluten free biscuit would do. I didn't want to take that first bite, filled with anticipation, and find that I'd replicated the gritty, dry and overly sweet taste that so many store bought gluten free biscuits seem to have. Not after a week on ration food!
What I came up with is my new, all-time favourite gluten free chocolate biscuit. They are full of cocoa, moist but not soggy, sweet but not sickly (unless you try eating more than two in a go and then you may need an ambulance) and most importantly, they do not taste gluten free. At least I don't think so. To put it into perspective, Tim, who I agree will eat just about anything I cook, is addicted and has asked me to hide them. Hide properly too - not put them in one of my usual hiding places. The problem is that I'll still know where they are and I have zero self control.
But down to business. For all my hype, these don't take much to make. I found the dough was a bit sticky so it's preferable that you roll it on or between some non-stick parchment or a baking mat. I also used flour to dust the board, top of the dough and the rolling pin, but try not to use too much. You don't want to fundamentally change the dough by adding too much more flour. I also found it easier to halve the dough before rolling, but you might be more skilled than me.
1 1/2 cups gluten free plain flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
fine zest of 1 orange
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp pure vanilla essence
pinch of salt
For the filling:
150g dark chocolate (plus extra)
3/4 cup sour cream
finely grated zest of one orange
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until it becomes pale and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, milk, zest and salt. Mix together well. Sift the flour and cocoa into the mix and beat slowly until it just combines, and then beat faster until all the ingredients have bound together. Turn out on to a floured board or parchment paper and knead gently with lightly floured hands until it just forms a firm ball.
Halve the dough and roll each piece to about 3-4 mm thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes. You'll get around three dozen individual biscuits. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper, leaving just a little space between each. They don't spread very much at all. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Melt 150g dark chocolate in a bowl. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and zest. Stir until you get a shiny, smooth mixture and then set it aside to cool a little. As it cools it should start to stiffen up. [If it still looks too runny when it cools down, add some more melted chocolate and stir well.]
Top half the biscuits with about a tablespoon of filling in the centre, and place the other biscuit on top, pressing down slightly. Store in an airtight container and hide if necessary!