Normally, I belong to the school of thought that believes that desserts should be filled with everything that is sweet, gooey, extravagant and altogether too scrumptious to be good for your waistline. But every now and then, I come across a recipe that temporarily threatens to change my mind: like this plain vanilla biscuit that I found in an ancient Oysterizer cookbook that’s been rattling around inside our cupboards for decades now. The recipe was simple and fresh, with all the attention drawn towards the sweet vanilla flavor and crispness of the biscuit.
I tried it out the other day, but with a twist that I think completely redefined the biscuit. I left off the vanilla and instead, used powdered spices. They went perfectly with the simplicity of the biscuit, giving each bite a certain sharpness. I also skipped the cold-cut butter for browned butter, which added a slight nuttiness.
The biscuit is perfect for tea-time. It’s not so sweet as to overpower the palate, but has a delightful crunch that makes them a great way to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp cardamom
3 sticks cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
Brown the butter and tip it into a large bowl. Add the sugar in three batches, whisking it while you do so to blend it in properly.
Crack the egg into the bowl and blend some more, until it’s combined into a smooth dough.
Grind the cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg powder and clove until it becomes a fine powder. The cardamon skins won’t be as fine as you like but don’t worry about them – you’ll be sieving them out.
Tip the flour, baking powder, and spices into a bowl, combine them and then sift the entire amount into the dough. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s well combined, and then wrap it in a zip-lock bag and put it refrigerate it for an hour.
After that, take it out and roll it into a log before cutting of slices. These biscuits will spread, so it doesn’t matter if your slices aren’t perfect – the point of the rolling and slicing is to ensure no dough is wasted.
Grease a baking pan with olive oil and place the cookies with at least 1 1/2 inches of space between them. Bake at 180 C for 10 minutes. Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before snapping them off and serving them. A sprinkle of cinnamon or powdered sugar would really bring their taste out.