Technical Challenges: Biscuit Week

I hope you enjoyed reading about week one of this challenge! For those who haven’t read it, you can find it here. The aim of this series is for me to bake my way through all the technical challenges that appear weekly on The Great British Bake Off. 🙂

I was a little worried about biscuit week.

I love baking cakes, pies, and bread. But I struggle with getting biscuits right. I can make some nice soft cakey cookies, but getting biscuits to have the right “snap” that Paul and Mary talk so much about is something I can never seem to quite get the hang of, and my biscuits can vary greatly in success.

Still, all the more reason to really work on this week’s challenge, I figured, as the whole point of this is to try and improve my skills!

As a result, I decided to not only undertake the “florentines” challenge, but to also make another biscuit I had not attempted before. This time, I chose “Danish butter biscuits”. Did you ever used to have these as kids? We used to ask my mum to get a tin of them quite often!

Danish BiscuitsThe Danish biscuits were tricky to shape, but the dough was easy to make and tasted amazing. It was trying to pipe them into the correct shapes that took a lot of energy (my hands had cramped up by the end!) as the dough was a lot thicker than the buttercream icing I am more used to piping. It also, as a result of this, took quite a long time.

But once cooked, they looked pretty (although not very uniform thanks to the difficulties in piping), and tasted wonderful, just like the Danish biscuits I remember from my childhood. I think they could have done with a little more than eight minutes in the oven though, because although they were the right colour, they could have had more of a snap to them.

Danish BiscuitsIf you’d like the recipe to try these yourself, you can find it here.

And then came this week’s technical challenge…

Mary Berry's FlorentinesYou can find the recipe here.

I fully expected this to be a challenge I wouldn’t succeed at. Biscuits are not my forte, as I’ve said. But, surprisingly, not only did I manage to get these biscuits out in one piece and not cakey, but they actually had a good snap, and tasted yummy!

For a technical challenge, the actual biscuits were not particularly difficult to make, especially as I’ve made caramel quite a few times before (salted caramel buttercream is one of my favourite icings to make). They actually took only a couple of minutes to assemble! I didn’t use candied peel and glacé cherries, as I’m not a fan, so I used dried cranberries, walnuts and hazelnuts instead.

FlorentinesAfter last week’s cherry cake came out a little too golden, I kept a close eye on these in the oven, and fortunately they came out just the right colour after about 7 minutes.

These biscuits are definitely ones I would make again – the caramel flavour is gorgeous in a biscuit, and everything tastes better with a layer of chocolate! 🙂

Florentines

The chocolate was probably the most difficult part of the technical challenge, as to get it glossy enough it had to be properly tempered. I do own a sugar thermometer (necessary when you enjoy making caramel), but the timings were tricky, and it took longer for the chocolate to cool than I expected, so the pattern took several attempts to get right. And it still didn’t come out quite correct – less zigzag and more wave!

Still the taste tester (aka my huband) was happy, and I did have a helping hand…

A helping hand

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