Black Pepper and Chocolate Biscuits
The Fairy Hobmother from Appliances Online is back on the scene, distributing gifts as she flitts by. This time I was granted a £25 Amazon voucher. There were so many things I could have used the voucher for, but in the end I decided I needed to up my biscuit making skills and so I splashed out on cookie cutters and a stamp. I fell in love with the “home made” stamp when I first saw the result over at Extra Relish.
Now I’ve got the stamp, but what to make with it? Never having used one before, I wasn’t really sure how to use it or what sort of biscuits it would be suitable for. I’ve already made plenty of shortbread and wanted to try something different. Having heard so much about using black pepper with chocolate, which helps to bring out the flavour apparently, that’s where I wanted to start. I found this recipe from Martha Stewart which not only sounded good but used US cup measures – deep breath, time to finally try out the lovely cup measures very kindly gifted to me by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes.
This is what I did:
- Creamed 3/4 stick (3oz) unsalted butter with 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (granulated) until fluffy.
- Beat in 1 small egg.
- Sifted in 1/2 cup wholemeal flour, 1/4 cup white flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/8 tsp Cornish sea salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.
- Mixed together to form a rather sticky ball.
- Put in a covered bowl in the fridge for an hour or so.
- Rolled ping pong size balls between my hands and spaced them well apart on a baking tray – lined with a silicone mat! Yes that’s right, a silicone mat. Following on from my first and last use of a said item, I was advised that a thinner one was better for biscuits; when I saw a thin one in Truro last week, I rather foolhardily went ahead and bought it. Lots of crossed fingers!
- Dipped the stamp in flour and pushed the ball down until it filled the stamp area, repeated this process with all 10 balls.
- Ground some black pepper over the tops.
- Baked at 190C for 10 mins.
- Amazingly, removed from the mat onto a wire rack with NO TROUBLE at all!
Trouble came, when as I’d feared, the mixture was too soft and the biscuits spread. This meant these weren’t at all what I’d hoped for and it was hard to make out the “home made” letters. But this was my first attempt and I have a much better idea of what to do next time. There will be a next time as I’d very much like to get this perfected before Christmas. The biscuits held together well, had a good snap and were lovely and crunchy. They tasted good too, with a satisfying depth of flavour, quite rich, but with only a hint of spice and only very faintly peppery.
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