Traditionally made and given as presents on Easter Sunday, these soft biscuits with a sugary, spicy crunch are a lovely alternative to chocolate eggs. My children wrap half a dozen with a pretty ribbon and give them to Grandparents every year – and they go down very well indeed!
This is quite a quick recipe to make so I gather all of the ingredients together before starting, most things will probably be in your fridge or cupboards already, so no expensive shopping trips needed.
200g Butter I prefer English as it has a creamier taste, but Value or Basics ranges are good enough. Always try to make sure butter is room temperature before starting, if not I pop it from the fridge into the microwave for 20 seconds, any longer and it will melt.
150g Caster Sugar Any brand, but if you only have granulated, give it a quick wizz in the blender or processor, not for too long or it will become icing sugar. 2 Large Egg Yolks There are many cheffy ways of separating the yolks, the easiest way is to break into a mug or bowl and use your middle three fingers to scoop it out.
TOP-TIP Don’t throw your egg white’s away, with a little extra caster sugar you have lovely meringues too!
400g Plain Flour Don’t waste your money on ready-sifted or expensive plain flours, they taste no different and honestly you will not tell the difference.
2.5 tsp Mixed Spice Only add 1 tsp if you like a less spicy biscuit
3.5 tsp Cinnamon As above, although this is milder
3 tbsp Milk Any milk, I use whatever is in the fridge, so it can be soya or almond if you prefer this or have any allergies.
200g Currants These can be substituted for cranberries and chopped apricots or other dried fruit, or even chocolate chips if you haven’t had enough over Easter!
Preheat your oven to Gas 4 / 350 F / or 180 C. If you have a fan oven I reduce this to 165 C. Line 2 x large trays with baking parchment, or if you only have one tray just use it twice. After everything is measured out, making the dough is the easy bit, I use a stand mixer but if you don’t have one they are still easy with a large bowl and a wooden spoon. If you have children begging to help, this is a good stage because all that beating can make your arms ache! I’ll assume you are using a stand mixer as this is how we did it when Anna came to my kitchen to take photos.
1. Chop up the butter and drop into the mixer bowl, add the sugar and beat together until light and fluffy. TIP – watch the dough as it mixes, you’ll see not only the ingredients are all combined but the mixture goes much lighter in colour when it’s ready.
2. Drop in both egg yolks, continue mixing for a minute or so, then add the flour and spices. TIP – to save on washing up, don’t bother sieving the flour, just put the mixer on at its slowest setting and add the flour a table spoon at a time as this adds air too.
3. As the mixture stiffens and the mixer starts to labour, add the milk a spoon at a time. It loosens the mixer and allows the dough to form. TIP – Stop when the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl. Bring the mixture together with your hands, and knead briefly on a lightly floured surface.
4. Roll out to about ½ cm thick and cut into rounds, I like to use the cutters that I use for scones with a wavy edge, but you could use any shape even Easter bunnies really. Place on the prepared baking trays and sprinkle with caster sugar. TIP – these are not the type of biscuits which spread when cooking so no need to leave large spaces around each biscuits.
5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until pale golden-brown. TIP – Baking biscuits is not the same as baking cakes so it’s fine to open the oven as many times as you like, something else that the children can do without making everything go wrong.
6. When ready remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool, unless you are like my Husband and pinch one while it’s still warm! TIP – If you like your biscuits with extra flavour, mix an extra ½ tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon in with 4 tbsp of caster sugar and sprinkle over the biscuits as they cool.
7. Store in an airtight container and they should last for at least a week unless someone eats them first!