I couldn’t decide whether to use ‘biscuits’ or ‘cookies’ in the title. I swithered from one to the other, and back, and I’m still not convinced. I may even still change it. I only really use ‘cookies’ to mean ‘chocolate chip cookies’, and while these little guys don’t fit that bill, they also don’t fit the bill for my usual understanding of ‘biscuit’ either.
So what I’m saying is that these will make you question the nature of reality as it related to baked goods.
They were born of me trying to follow a recipe I saw online, late at night when I should have been thinking of getting ready for bed, but finding that the recipe didn’t really work for me. Partly because I didn’t have the right ingredients, which is nobody’s fault but my own, of course. The main thing I didn’t have was canola oil, or another mild oil. I had some mild olive oil that I thought would work, so I used that. The flavour and fragrance from the oil was much stronger than I thought it would be – plus, when I had mixed all the ingredients as the recipe directed, it looked like a big oily mess in the bowl. I listened to my baker’s instincts, and started adding some extras until the dough looked more like, well, dough…
Here is the final recipe, as jotted down while I was working. Will it work a second time? I have no idea, and that’s the truth.
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
To prepare, line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Heat the oven to 180C.
First, mix the sugar, oil, eggs and honey in a bowl until well combined and a creamy yellow colour.
The truth is, the finished dough will look greasy and you may have doubts. This is what happened to me, at any rate, but they weren’t sufficient doubts to pack it in altogether, and I’m so glad I didn’t.
Tip the half cup of icing sugar out onto your work surface. Roll up little balls of the dough between your palms, then roll in the icing sugar until coated all over, and place on the baking tray.
Just after you take them out, you might choose to make an indent in them with your thumb, so that you can put some jam or lemon curd on top. If you’re doing this, be careful, and hold the sides of the cookie as you press down gently on the top. They are delicate creatures, and will crack and break apart if you push too hard, or don’t support them while you do. The jam is optional, anyway – they are good without it.
Cool the biscuits on a rack to let all the moisture out. You’ll end up with light, delicately flavoured, bite-sized morsels, whatever you choose to call them. They’re not overly sweet, especially if you don’t add any toppings, and while the flavour of the oil comes through, the texture isn’t rich or heavy – they are soft inside, and just a little crumbly. It just goes to show, even when you think something’s going wrong, it can end up alright. Take comfort.