Honey Biscuits

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House Bee
Sep 4, 2019
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Melbourne, Australia
Hive Type
In the apiary? Well, not exactly. A few days ago I told of my grand-daughters making honey biscuits. The biscuits have been enjoyable, but they were not “like mother used to make”.

I checked through some old recipe books which contain traditional recipes, and found quite a lot of variation amongst the twelve (yes, twelve different) recipes for honey biscuits. I was surprised at the amount of variation amongst them, and yet there were strong aspects of similarity as well. After setting up a spreadsheet in which I could easily compare differences and similarities, I have come up with my own “rationalised” recipe, and made about one hundred biscuits yesterday. As I rolled the dough, cut the biscuit shapes, and baked successive trays of biscuits, I made a few discoveries along the way. Perhaps the best part was being told by my eldest grand-daughter that they tasted really nice.

I found it surprising that many (actually most) of those old traditional recipes did not specify the amount of flour to be used, but rather that “enough” flour should be used to make a stiff dough. It became important for me to discover exactly how much flour was “enough”. Only one of the recipes specified Self Raising flour, but all the others used plain flour, and required bicarbonate of soda as a baking powder. I determined to discover whether one type of flour was really better than the other, and feel that I had better results with Self Raising flour.

I do not want to make this letter unnecessarily long, but would like to share some of the secrets I discovered, which I hope may be of benefit to others who wish to make their own honey biscuits. Actually, I think that this detailed explanation might help someone who has never baked anything before!

The stiffness of the dough is influenced greatly by the amount of moisture in the wet ingredients, which in this recipe happen to be eggs. Hen’s eggs vary in size, and the eggs I bought were about 70gm each. Another factor was being able to cut the biscuit shapes from the dough, and transfer them to the baking tray, without them sticking strongly to the plastic cutting mat on which I rolled the dough. My best results came when I took only a small lump of dough at a time to be rolled and cut. I used a “dusting cup” to sprinkle flour liberally onto the cutting mat, and also on top of the lump of dough, before rolling the dough. This enabled the rolling pin to remain free of adhering dough, and also the shaped piece of dough to be picked up easily and transferred to the baking tray, after the dough had been cut by the biscuit cutter.

Now for the Traditional Honey Biscuits Recipe:

450gm honey
450gm sugar
50gm butter (unsalted, unless you usually like to add a little salt to your cooking)
Spices: ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg – 1 teaspoon of each
(the teaspoon size is 5ml, and I found that the total weight of these spices was about 12gm)
3 eggs
900gm Self Raising flour

= = =

Place honey, sugar and butter into a mixing bowl, and warm them to melt the butter and bring the honey to a very fluid consistency, so that they can easily be mixed very well. (If you use a glass bowl, you could use a microwave oven to warm this mixture.) Allow this mixture to cool before adding the eggs which shall be beaten well. Mix these liquid ingredients well before adding the dry ingredients.

Sift the spices and flour together, to ensure that they are mixed well. (I found that the nutmeg was not quite as finely ground as the other spices, and therefore the use of a fine sieve can achieve removal of coarse particles of spice.) Mix the flour well with the liquid ingredients. (I used an electric cake-mixer which has dough hook attachments, and this made the task much easier.) The resultant dough should be of a slightly dry consistency, not crumbly, but able to be rolled by hand into smooth balls of dough. If you use small eggs, the dough may be slightly dry, but if the eggs are larger, the dough may be more moist and sticky. If the mix is a bit too dry, add a very small amount of milk. If it is too sticky, add more flour.

After dusting the cutting board liberally with flour, roll a lump of dough (maybe half to one cupful) in your hands into a smooth ball, and place it on the board. Dust the ball with flour before flattening it and rolling to about 5mm thick. Use a biscuit cutter of your choice and transfer the cut shapes onto a sheet of oven-proof paper which has been placed onto an oven tray. Do not place the cut shapes too closely together, as they will expand a little during baking. The scraps of dough which remain after cutting the shapes may be gathered together and rolled with the next lump of dough which shall be cut.

Before placing the biscuits into the oven, press a blanched almond kernel into each biscuit. If anyone wants information on how to blanch almonds, I found the following website very informative:
Bake for 12 minutes in a moderate oven (I used 180 degrees C in a fan forced oven).

After being baked for about twelve minutes, the biscuits should be a light golden colour, but will still be soft. After removing a tray of biscuits from the oven, the tray should be allowed to cool on a wire rack before the biscuits are removed. If the biscuits are still a little soft after they have cooled, then the baking time could have been a little longer. If they are baked for too long, they will be darker in colour, and much harder (and probably less enjoyable to eat!)

The biscuit cutters in the attached photo were made by me, and as I previously commented, I like the symbolism of a hexagonal-shaped honey-biscuit.


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I bake bread and cakes a lot, often using honey. However, biscuits are not on my menu. After reading your post I will give them a try. Thank you for all the research and findings!
Thus is the recipe I use

115 g unsalted butter
115 g soft, dark brown sugar
8 tbsp Runny Honey
400g mixture of plain or rye flour (I use half and half)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp mixed spice
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg plus an egg white
150 g Icing Sugar
1 tbsp water

Pre-heat your oven to 180C fan200C and lightly oil 3 lined baking trays.

Melt the butter sugar and runny honey over a low heat stir just until the butter has melted. Then set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together, mix well and then add the egg and mix it all again.

Pour in the melted butter mixture and stir until the dough starts to come together.

Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured table and knead it into a ball of dough. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a tablespoon of water at a time and knead again until it comes together.

Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and cut shapes using biscuit cutters

Bake batches for 7-8 mins per batch.

Whilst the biscuits are baking, make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar, egg white and water into a thick paste

When the biscuits have baked, they should be golden and will still be a bit soft. Cool on a rack.

Once cooled ice if you fancy

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