Sunday, October 3, 2010

Little Cinnamon Biscuits Like They Serve In Posh Cafés

Today, the Tortemeisterin had a yearning to bake something. Anything. So had I, which was weird because I never normally bake things. I for my part wanted to make bagels, which I'd never made before, but I thought the ability to whip up a few bagels would be a useful skill. The Tortemeisterin wanted to make little crunchy cinnamon-flavoured biscuits like the kind they serve with your coffee in Greek cafés (and in posh cafés elsewhere in the world). I happily yielded the kitchen to her, on the grounds that the little cinnamon biscuits sounded like they would take less time; you don't have to let the dough rise, basically. I ended up hovering over her shoulder and doing odd jobs like melting the butter and golden syrup together, while she handled everything else. So this one was a true joint effort.

A recipe was located on the Channel 4 website, and I reproduce it here with our annotations.


* 50g butter
* 125g golden syrup (we were a bit short and used more like 110g)
* 1 egg yolk, beaten
* 125g plain flour
* 50g soft dark brown sugar (we used Muscovado)
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp baking powder

"1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan160°C/gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper."

Note: you don't have to line a baking tray with baking paper. We did that for the first batch, and the biscuits stuck to the paper. You might be better off lightly greasing a non-stick baking tray and letting the biscuits get firm before you try and remove them - a sharp tap with a knife should knock them off in one go, but be careful not to scratch the non-stick.

"Melt the butter and golden syrup in a large saucepan over a gentle heat until they come together. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk."

Note: make sure that you don't heat the butter so much that it foams. You just want it to melt. If you start cooking that butter, the egg yolk will scramble when you pour it in the pan.

"2. Sift the remaining ingredients together into the saucepan and fold into the egg and syrup mix. You should now have a cinnamony paste. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon-size dots onto the lined tray. Keep well apart, as they’ll spread a bit. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool before removing. They will crisp up a little more as they cool."

Note: an extra three or four minutes won't hurt. We got about 40 biscuits out of this mixture. Don't be tempted to put large blobs on the baking tray; the biscuits are very sweet and very intense. A half a teaspoon of mixture will give you a biscuit large enough to accompany a single espresso.

Store them in tupperware and bring them out next time you make a cup of real coffee. They're so crunchy they're almost like some kind of cinnamon-flavoured sweet. Respect to Channel 4 for the recipe and my lovely wife for deciding to make it in the first place.

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