Strawberry & Chamomile Jam Biscuits
I have been placing my entries for this year's "Bake The Issue" Competition featured in the August 2015 issue of Taste.com.au Magazine. Today I have my latest entry and recipe for you from the competition and I was really happy with how these turned out. They remind me of a shortbread style flavor with yummy jam sandwiched between and let me tell you, that one of these babies is enough to satisfy your cookie cravings!
I did make a couple of changes to the recipe like bumping up the vanilla extract, nixing the salt from the original recipe and just using regular salted butter - they still turned out great, another addition, which is purely optional is to add 1/4 teaspoon of almond essence.
Below are a few tips to getting these cookies just right and while I have made many cookies before, I usually create cookies that just need a quick spoon dollop onto the baking paper whereas these ones need a bit more attention - but they are still very simple to make and look really beautiful once done. I think these are the kinds of biscuits that would enhance any high tea and if ever the queen was to pop around I would surely make these because they are ever so elegant.
Can't wait to try these blueberry jam - oh the possibilities!
It is important to rest and chill your dough in the fridge and allow it firm up otherwise, due to the butter content, they will not hold their shape and the dough will not hold shape or be easy to cut
If you find your dough beginning to lose firmness DO NOT try to keep working with it, place it back in the fridge to firm up
Placing the dough between two sheets of baking paper when rolling it out will make it very simple for you and eliminate the need for excess flour and avoid your rolling pin sticking to the dough
Use a good quality strawberry jam preferably 100% fruit as it will really enhance the flavor of your cookies
If you can't find loose leaf chamomile tea, do what I did and just use the chamomile from a tea bag. I also used my electric coffee grinder to chop it finely and it worked a treat! Honestly though, the flavor is very subtle so in a pinch you could just leave it out altogether
Ensure you get the right thickness to these cookies because too thin and your cookies will burn and probably break and if they are too thick they will most likely be too "heavy" in texture and may not cook through
A silicon baking mat makes a great working surface when bringing your dough together to make your two large discs
YOU WILL NEED
2 tablespoons of loose leaf chamomile (I just used a chamomile tea bag which was exactly this amount)
120g | 4 ounces caster sugar
250g | 9 ounces | 1 cup butter (chopped and at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon almond essence
80g | 3 ounces almond meal
2+1/4 cup cups plain flour
Good quality strawberry jam to sandwich the biscuits
Process the chamomile leaf in a food processor/coffee grinder until finely chopped and pass through a coarse sieve and discard any large pieces.
In a large bowl add the chamomile leaf, caster sugar, chopped butter, vanilla bean paste and almond extract (if using) and beat with an electric beater until pale and creamy, add the almond meal and egg and beat until just combined.
Gather the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and divide the mixture in half and shape into two discs, wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat open to 180°C/375°F and line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
Roll out one of the discs between two sheets of baking paper until 4mm/0.15" thick. Use a 7cm/2.5" fluted round cookie cutter to cut out your bottom discs, re-roll the scraps and cut out as many more discs as you can and then place the tray in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.
Roll out the second disc this time using a small flower shaped cutter to cut out the centre part of the discs. Reserve the smaller flowers cut-outs on a separate baking sheet and place the large cut out discs on another, Re-roll and cut out as needed. Place the trays in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Bake the rounds for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden. Bake the smaller flowers for only 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled add teaspoonfuls for jam to the the bottom discs and then gently top with the flower cut-out discs and lightly dust with icing sugar.
MAKES 16 COOKIES AND APPROXIMATELY 8-10 SMALL FLOWER COOKIES