Tag Archives: cookies

Is it a biscuit or a cookie?

I for one, never really know.  I would like to think a biscuit is flatter, and crisp, to me a digestive “biscuit” is the typical biscuit for me.
Biscuits

Whereas a cookie can be slightly more cracked, un-uniform and soft.  A chocolate chip cookie in this case is my example.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie

The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie

Often when I get the urge to make either a cookie or a biscuit I cannot make up my mind, so end up making more than one.

Sometimes when the mood REALLY takes me I might go one step further and make some “millionaire” shortbread.  I had been doing my shopping after my run recently (NEVER is this a good idea BTW), and spied my guilty pleasure in the aisle while waiting to pay. My virtuous daughter said not to give into my Twix temptation.  But I just couldn’t get the caramel/ chocolate/ Shortbread combination out of my head. So the biscuit on that occasion was, of course the millionaire.

Of course once you pair chocolate with either one, it instantly becomes a treat.

Biscuits

My husbands family come from a rather well known biscuit brand.  Jacob’s biscuits. As it happened the origin of the brand was Waterford,  founded in 1851 in Bridge Street, by William Beale Jacob and his brother Robert. It later moved to the better known location of Bishop Street in Dublin, with a factory in Peter’s Row. The factory in Liverpool was opened in 1914.

Mind you, when you think of Jacob’s biscuits you often imagine the iconic orange wrapping of the famous cream cracker, that, to me, isn’t really a biscuit at all! And no, I’m afraid I CANNOT tell you how they put the figs into the figrolls…..

So, as you can see I’ve quite the obsession with the whole cookie, biscuit, cracker thing.  And thankfully always have lots of volunteers helping me in my quest to find a favourite.  So, what’s yours?

The old favourites are the best- iced Christmas cookies

I always use this recipe when making batches of biscuits for icing; it’s my twist on a Nigella Lawson Classic

A cup of treats

A cup of treats

for the biscuits

  • 300g plain flour (plus more for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 100g soft butter
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 4 tablespoons runny honey

for the icing and trimmings

  • 300 g instant royal icing (from packet)
  • decorations

Method

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/350ºF.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and pepper in a food processor and, with the motor on, add the butter and sugar, then, slowly, the beaten eggs and runny honey, though don’t use all of this liquid if the pastry has come together before it’s used up.
  3. Form 2 fat discs and put one, covered in clingfilm or in a freezer bag, in the fridge while you get started on the other.
  4. Then dust a work surface with flour, roll out the disc, also floured, to about 5mm / ¼ inch and cut out your Christmas decorations with cutters of your choice.
  5. Re-roll and cut out some more, setting aside the residue from this first disc, well covered, while you get on with rolling out the second. When you’ve got both sets of leftover clumps of dough, roll out and cut out again, and keep doing so till all the dough’s used up.
  6. Arrange the pastry shapes on the lined baking sheets and cook for about 20 minutes: it’s hard to see when they’re cooked, but you can feel; if the underside is no longer doughy, they’re ready. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  7. Make up the instant royal icing, beating it until it’s thick enough to be able to cover the biscuits with a just-dripping blanket of white.
  8. Carefully ice the cold decorations, using a teaspoon (the tip for dripping, the back for smoothing), and scatter sparkles or sprinkles as you like.