The other day, with Valentine's day just around the corner I thought I should maybe start thinking about what I am going to do for my Valentine, rather than which projects I'm going to do for my blog!
Mr Muck likes Belgium biscuits, or at least he used to when he was a kid (he used to make them every saturday). They are spicy biscuits made with cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and cocoa, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and then topped with a raspberry glaze.
So I made him these home-baked Belgium biscuits and packaged them up in a nifty little origami basket.
The basket was a happy discovery from the other day. I had baked some scones to take in to a friend in hospital and wanted to find something to put them in that she could then just discard afterwards (with a newborn I'm sure she has better things to do than wash and return containers!).
So I had a look around the internet and discovered these origami Easter baskets, which I made without the handle, and out of a larger, sturdy piece of construction paper to get the size I wanted.
I used these instructions, and a piece of paper measuring 34 x 34cm (13" x 13"). This makes a bowl which is the perfect size to fill with baked goodies - four cupcakes would fit in here perfectly - an idea I will have to revisit sometime! After said goodies have been consumed, the bowl can be re-used or simply flattened and placed in the recycling.
And for those of you who would like to try and make Belgium biscuits, my recipe is below. It is a hash-together of a couple of different recipes I had, tweaked heavily, and they turned out pretty good. There are hundreds of Belgium biscuit recipes on the internet, so if you haven't tried them, find one you like and give them a go!
Happy Valentines Day to you all!
For the biscuits:
225g softened butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 large egg
3 cups plain flour
1 & 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps mixed spice
2 tsps ginger
2 tsps cocoa powder
For the filling:
For the icing:
1 cup sifted confectioners (icing) sugar
A drop of pink food colouring
A drop of raspberry essence
For the pink sugar (optional - just for prettiness!):
Pink food colouring
To make the biscuits, cream butter and sugar together for two minutes, or until creamy.
Add in egg and mix.
In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together, including the spices and cocoa.
With your mixer on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until a dough is formed. It is ready when the ball of dough almost starts to clean the bowl of the mixer.
Break the dough into two pieces and roll them into sausage shapes. Cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, (but even longer is better).
Once chilled and firm, roll out the dough out to about 3-4mm thick and cut into desired shapes.
Place the shapes on cookie sheets lined with baking (parchment) paper.
Bake at 175 degrees (350 fahrenheit) for 8 - 15 minutes (depending on the size of the biscuits they will take varying amounts of time). They are done when they are just starting to brown around the edges. They may still feel a little soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden on cooling.
Once completely cooled, sandwich the biscuits together with raspberry jam.
For the icing, place the confectioners sugar in a bowl. Add enough water to create a runny icing. Add essence and colouring. Spread over the biscuits with the back of a teaspoon or pipe using a small round nozzle. If piping, pipe the outline first, then wait a couple of minutes and "flood" the inside with icing. The outline will act as a dam. The icing will take a couple of hours to completely set, so be careful when stacking the biscuits up in a tin.
For the pink sugar, place 6 or 8 tbs of granulated sugar in a ziplock bag and add 1-2 drops of pink food colouring. Seal the bag and rub the sugar with your fingers to distribute the colour evenly. You can keep this in the sealed bag for a week or so.
The biscuits are best eaten on the day, but will last in a sealed biscuit tin for about a week.