Thyme and lemon biscuits

thyme and lemon biscuits

A little while ago I went on a crusade to find a good replacement for butter. After plenty of searching, numerous palm oil woes, and debates with myself about using biodynamic butter, I pretty much decided to just avoid it where I can, using olive oil instead, or coconut oil if I’m feeling rich.

In the process of reaching this conclusion however, I came across a certain product by Melrose, which I think ethically is not too bad, though obviously pretty processed and quite far from being actual food. It tastes alright (but not amazing), and goes fine on toast. The jelly-like consistency did irk us all a bit though, so I made the call that it definitely wouldn’t work to bake with this stuff. Fast forward about 9 months, and the poor little tub is still sitting in the fridge; forgotten, but otherwise fine.

It really needed to get out of our lives, however being one to avoid wasting anything, I decided to give baking a go.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

Heating this spread seemed to just compound its not-amazing flavour, and ruined a batch of what would otherwise have been quite tasty biscuits. I was saddened by this defeat, but was sure that these biscuits could actually be quite good. Herbs in sweet biscuits – what a delicious paradigm shift!

Determined to eat these biscuits, I tried again with old mate nuttelex. It may not be the greatest solution to my butter woes, but it came through with the goods. I was rewarded with golden, sugary discs of thyme and lemon, and the realisation that I probably just need my own cow.

thyme and lemon biscuits 2

thyme and lemon biscuits 3

Thyme and lemon biscuits

Makes about 20

4 tablespoons butter/margarine
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain flour

Preheat oven to 180C, and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Grind thyme to a pulp using a mortar and pestle. Whisk butter/margarine and sugar in a medium bowl, then add thyme and lemon rind and mix to combine.

Sift in flour and mix to form a dough. Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper to approximately half a centimetre thick. Cut into rounds (or the shape of your choice) using a biscuit cutter, and transfer to prepared tray. Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar.

The baking time will vary with your oven, but will be around 7-12 minutes. You might need to rotate the tray halfway through if your oven cooks unevenly (like mine). Just keep watch – they’re done when they’re lightly golden. Allow to cool, then eat.

Lemon chickpea slice

Abundance! What a brilliant word. But when it comes to citrus, you really have to get a little bit creative. Oranges are great because you can just eat or juice them. Lemons and limes are a tad more tricky – pickled limes, preserved lemons, marmalade? Tick. And there are still bags of fruit coming off the trees.

Desserts.

Lemon and lime sweets generally use very few fruit, which will hardly make a dent in the abundance of your heaving lemon tree. But any use is better than none, right? Especially a tasty one.

This is a variation on a recipe I posted a while ago for choc-berry chickpea slice. That one was vegan – this one is dairy-free and uses eggs. I must say that this version is rather lovely. It has a much lighter consistency, rather than the more fudgey chia-egg version. Not to say I don’t love a fudgey slice, but the eggs really do make a difference to the texture. Lighter is better when it comes to lemon I think. It also has no oil! Why did I even include that in the first place?! (And it still excites me that you’re getting a little dose of legume in your dessert!)

Lemon chickpea slice

1 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C and line a square or rectangular baking tin (the type for making brownies, or square cakes) – about 20 x 20 or 30 cm.

Whizz the chickpeas in a food processor until the texture resembles something between breadcrumbs and flour. This will be easier if the chickpeas are well-drained.
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with the flour and baking powder, and whisk to mix together and remove any lumps.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour the mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool, then remove from pan and ice with lemon icing by combining approx 1 cup icing sugar with a dash of lemon juice (or dilute with non-dairy milk if you want a more subtle lemon flavour).

When icing has set, cut into slices of your desired shape and size.

Eat.

Sunday feast.

I am not one to buy into days designed to get people buying stuff. I really despise the culture of consumerism that has become inherent in Mothers’ Day (and Fathers’ Day, Easter, Christmas etc). However, I do really appreciate that there is one day each year when we recognise the awesome role of our mothers. Of course as my Mum reminds me each year, “every day should be Mothers’ Day”, which is true – showing appreciation for the people we love is undoubtedly something we should practice daily. But each year on Mothers’ Day, my sister and I have always gone to special lengths to make it especially nice. This is usually achieved by handmade cards, flowers, and breakfast. This year, Gran was coming over for the afternoon too, and we decided to bake her some things to have with cups of tea. Queue extreme baking morning!

I decided to make crumpets for breakfast. There is absolutely no comparison between homemade and store-bought crumpets. The home-made variety are so much fresher, lighter and flavoursome, plus you can eat them straight from the pan. More on crumpets in a minute.

For Gran, we decided to make a spiced banana loaf cake (my sister’s specialty), and some sweet biscuits (my job). Dad was looking after lunch – roast chicken (as I wouldn’t be there to cause trouble with my picky pragmatic-veganism), plus roasted purple congo potatoes from the garden.

I put my hand up to provide afternoon tea, as Mum’s siblings were coming around. Beetroot chocolate cupcakes. I’d been meaning to try this recipe for ages, and with the beets jumping out of the ground, it seemed logical. Also, I’m in a bit of a chocolate phase right now (having baked ginger pumpkin brownies for a friend’s 21st the night before).

Feast!

And here are some nibbles of the feast that was Sunday. I may add the recipes in separate post later :)

Crumpets

Lemon biscuits + Choc chip caramel biscuits 

Beetroot chocolate cupcakes

(and just for fun, though not a Sunday feast item…)

Ginger pumpkin brownies