Who's up for some Easter Baking?
I thought long and hard about a nice Easter recipe to share, and decided quickly that Hot Cross Buns were out. I mean, this is the Inner West, and you can't go more than 500m in any direction without running into an artisan bakery, who over Easter will have punters queuing for award winning Hot Cross Buns. Considering people travel across town just to buy these speciality treats, I figured we leave the professionals to it and simply enjoy scoffing down their offerings over this holiday period.
Then I thought: what about Hot Cross Biscuits? Like…a spicier take on a classic Christmas sugar cookie. With all those warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg we associate with hot cross buns and Autumn. Are they a thing? If not, they should be!
So let's make them a thing. They're deceptively easy, and they look so pretty that you'll feel pleased with yourself for days.
Makes approx 24
Prep Time: 1hr 20min (includes chilling time), Cook Time: 11min
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cardamom
125g butter, cubed & softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 yolk (leftover from the icing)
1 egg white
150g icing sugar
Few drops vanilla
1-3 tsp water as needed
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. In one mixing bowl, sift in flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder & spices.
In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add honey, vanilla and egg and beat briefly with the electric mixer until well mixed in.
Use a spatula or wooden spoon to add the flour mixture, folding slowly until just combined. Shape the mixture with your hands and roll into a long log. Wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour to firm up a bit.
Once chilled, roll dough with rolling pin til it's about 1cm in thickness (if you want a thin, snappy biscuit, aim for closer to a ½ cm)
Sprinkle a little flour over the surface of the dough, then cut out small circles using an upturned glass or round biscuit cutter. The size you choose is up to you! Carefully place the circles 2-3cm apart on a baking paper lined baking tray and bake for 8-11 minutes, or until lightly browned. [Tip: I find I have to turn the tray around about ¾ of the way through baking time, otherwise the biscuits at the back are darker than the front ones. Ovens are rarely an even temperature throughout. Getting things cooked evenly can be trial and error, and nobody knows your oven like you do!]
Transfer to a wire rack and once cooled, pipe icing crosses across the top.
Icing for Cross Decorations:
Mix all icing ingredients together until smooth. You can make crosses on the biscuits with a piping bag or a ziplock bag with a tiny hole cut in a bottom corner, or simply just drizzling with a teaspoon.
After icing, leave to set for about 2 hours before popping them into a jar or biscuit tin.
These biscuits will keep for 2 weeks in the pantry in an airtight container or jar. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Pimp My Recipe
Spiced Biscuits not your cup of tea? Just omit the cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, and add these following combinations instead:
Always a winning combo! (These are the speckled biscuits in the picture above).
Lemon Myrtle & Pepperberry
Give your Easter biscuits some Australiana flair. The gentle, sweet & refreshing elegance of lemon myrtle is the perfect bake mate for the sharp and spicy pepperberry.