The church biscuit: 45. Honey biscuits & 46. Spanish almond biscuits

It was the turn of Ipsden Church to hold the Ash Wednesday service this year and as people from the other parishes in the team attend, I thought I’d bake a couple of different biscuits. As to numbers –  people or biscuits – you never really know so, thinking that I could probably freeze some, I made loads. No freezing necessary partly because children – who having checked there was no chocolate in the biscuits (yes, you guessed it, given up for Lent) – felt uninhibited about coming back for more.

Honey biscuits (from Miranda Gore Browne’s ‘Biscuit’ (Ebury, 2012)

Honey biscuits (from Miranda Gore Browne’s ‘Biscuit’ (Ebury, 2012)

Honey biscuits

(from Miranda Gore Browne’ Biscuit (Ebury, 2006)

These honey biscuits were especially popular. They were also easy and fun to make. I love it when recipes surprise you and adding the bicarb of sofa to hot honey and milk was satisfyingly different. It will also be a great recipe for innovation – a ginger variation with bits of crystallised ginger would work especially well, I think (ah, yes, Miranda mentions this too, now I look at the recipe again).


2 heaped tbsp honey

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100 g unsalted butter, softened

75 g soft light brown sugar

175 g plain flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/ 160 degrees C for a fan oven/Gas Mark 4 and line several baking trays  with baking parchment.

The amounts above gives you 24 good sized biscuits.  I doubled the amounts and made almost 50.

Put the honey and milk into a small microwaveable bowl and warm in the microwave on High for 30 seconds. (If no microwave, put them in a small pan and warm gently on the hob, stirring all the time but making sure it doesn’t boil.) When the honey mixture is hot add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk with a fork until the mixture looks creamy and frothy.

Cream together butter and sugar, add the honey mixture and beat again. Then add the honey mixture and beat again. Finally add the flour and mix until just combined.

Roll  little walnut-sized chunks of the dough into balls, place them on the prepared baking trays and then flatten them slightly. (I then pressed them with a fork.) Bake for about 10 minutes – they will puff up and become beautifully golden. Set the tray to one side and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. When they have firmed up, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

A great success. These biscuits looked unusually soft and pillowy in a way that was inviting and irresistible.

Spanish almond biscuits (from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats: ed Susanna Tee; Paragon Books, 2009)

Spanish almond biscuits (from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats: ed Susanna Tee; Paragon Books, 2009)

Spanish almond cookies

(from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats: ed Susanna Tee; Paragon Books, 2009)

75 g unsalted butter softened (+ extra for greasing)

55 g blanched flaked almonds

75 g caster sugar

quarter of a teasp almond essence (optional)

55 g plain flour

2 large egg whites

Makes 15-20 depending on how generous you are

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/ 160 degrees fan oven/350 degrees F/ Gas Mark 4

Grease about 3 good sized baking sheets with butter.

Put the almonds into a little sandwich bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they are broken up into little bits about the size of the head of the pearl on a pearl headed pin.

Beat together butter and sugar until light an fluffy. Add the almond extract, flour and chopped nuts and stir these in until incorporated.

Whisk the egg whites in a large blow until the soft peak stage. Fold these into the almond mixture. Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to the baking trays.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are just turning golden around the edges. let them firm up on the baking tray and then after 2-3  minutes transfer to a cooling rack.

May be, to make these more Spanish, a little orange juice and rind might work. They were vey nice but not so very different from other almond based biscuits.

Recently I’ve been following some of Lindsey Bareham’s dinner recipes (v. good, often simple but with an interesting twist) in The Times and in one of her recipes for a quick fish pie she suggests enriching the mashed potato topping with an egg yolk which helps the potato crisp up and also makes it creamier (and two egg yolks is even better).  That’s good as I now have another use – omelettes being my usual fall back – for those egg yolks that can take up residence in the fridge and look accusingly at you every time you open the door.

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  1. Posted February 23, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Aha – another use for egg yokes! Thank you!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, how often does one’s heart sink when a recipe calls for just one part of an egg? I feel so great burden of responsibility to find a use for the part that remains that it almost mars the enjoyment of cooking with the bit of egg needed. Quite daft, there are more important moral dilemmas to dwell on … and yet…

  2. Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Almond pieces bashed until they arête size of a pin head on a pearl headed pin is one of the most charming recipe directions I have ever read. The honey biscuits look absolutely beautiful too X

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Well, how very subtle of you to draw my attention to that bit of text as I now see I’ve used both the definite and the indefinite article and can edit it accordingly. Simon Jenkins who briefly edited ‘The Times’ said the paper didn’t have readers so much as finger nail monitors. Hooray for finger nail monitors, I say.

  3. Anne Hill
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes, these are my kind of biscuits. I think I would also like the fish pie. Crisp mashed potatoes sounds tasty

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Jolly good, glad you like the sound of them. The potatoes are creamy underneath but crisp on the top. Delicious!

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