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Posted by: Anna | May 6, 2021
Are you on board with gluten-free biscuits? Whether you are a cafe, a mum, or a friendly neighbor, sometime, somewhere, it is always time for a cuppa. And who doesn’t like to indulge in a little something sweet.
The demand for gluten-free products is higher than ever, and still rising.
The internet is filled with ideas on how to make the best gluten-free biscuits or recipes for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies but not everybody wants to spend their free time baking. Maybe, you just want to sit in a quiet space with a cup of coffee and a gluten-free treat? Or be able to indulge over a chat with a friend. The more suppliers that get on board and offer gluten-free choices the better. Whether you are a cafe owner, a wholesaler, or a corner shop, offering alternatives can only be a good thing, right?
Gluten is a substance formed from the proteins in wheat. It gives wheat flour the remarkable properties that make it such a versatile ingredient.
Those with coeliac disease cannot tolerate gluten as even the smallest amount triggers an immune response that damages the intestine. With this comes many unpleasant and painful symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity can cause similar symptoms but is triggered by different antibodies. This sensitivity to gluten is often attributed to the changing DNA of modern wheat and its prevalence in the western diet. It cannot be denied that giving up gluten is also a major trend. Many people give up gluten and find that it simply helps them to make food choices that support their personal well being.
Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that more and more people are choosing gluten-free products, including sweet treats such as biscuits and cookies.
Are gluten-free cookies healthy?
Gluten-free cookies should be viewed like any other cookie. As an occasional sweet treat. Gluten-free does not automatically mean healthier, but it can mean more choice for everyone.
Do gluten-free cookies taste different?
We often expect free-from foods to be a replica of the original. But without the properties of gluten this can be difficult to achieve. Different flours behave in different ways and working with them is not always easy. It isn’t so much a question of lowering expectations but rather to keep an open mind. The texture of a gluten-free biscuit may not be exactly as you expect but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. That said, as demand rises, both artisan and commercial bakers are finding better ways to get the best from new ingredients. Sometimes you really cannot tell the difference. There are many people that prefer the gluten-free varieties.
Is xanthan gum gluten-free?
Xanthan gum is gluten-free. Used in baked goods to mimic some of the effects of gluten, it helps dough to hold onto water. Not all products containing xanthan gum will be gluten free, but you will find it in many gluten-free products.
Posted by: Anna | March 22, 2021
Chocolate biscuit cake, depending on who you ask, ranges from broken up biscuits in a sort of solid ganache (aka fridge cake) to putting biscuit crumb in actual cake batter.
Then there’s a sort of layer cake made from plain biscuits, maybe soaked in a little alcohol, and sandwiched with sweetened cream. As if that weren’t enough, there is the Australian classic – the chocolate ripple biscuit cake.
All of them have a lovely 1950s housewife feel to them. A time when food out of the packets was the new frontier and baking ingenuity knew no bounds.
How to make cake using biscuits
What they all have in common is biscuits. Yay. And chocolate. Unless you feel particularly inventive, in which case you could go beyond chocolate and try different types of biscuits and frostings. This will only really work with the ripple biscuit/layer cake style scenario. Fridge cake wouldn’t be fridge cake without chocolate. It wouldn’t stick together for a start. You could try white chocolate, that could be good.
And they involve no cooking, unless you count a bit of melting or whipping. If that is too much of a stretch for you, then you can just eat biscuits straight from the packet and be done with it…
Broken biscuit cake
Also known as biscuit fridge cake, or tiffin, this is that deliciously moreish wedge of chocolate crammed with bits of biscuit. It manages to be dense and toothsome, yet soft, all at the same time. sometimes it has other things inside too, such as cherries.
Basic recipe for chocolate fridge cake using condensed milk
1 can condensed milk
3/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chunks
1 pack plain biscuits
- Line a tin or any shallow container with greaseproof paper
- Break the biscuits into a large bowl
- In a small pan over a low heat, melt the butter, condensed milk, and chocolate together.
- Mix this into the biscuits.
- Press into the tin and chill in the fridge for several hours or until set.
Chocolate ripple biscuit cake
Chocolate ripple cake is the stuff of childhood fantasy. It centered originally around the particular texture (or maybe widespread availability) of the chocolate ripple biscuit. If you feel brave enough to break free of tradition then you could try a triple choc chip cookie. You could dispense with the chocolate altogether, and experiment with anzac biscuits or maybe a coffee cream? Just saying.
If you do feel the need to behave in such an outrageous manner there is only one rule. You have to keep it kitchy cool.
This biscuit cake is made by whipping cream, with a touch of icing sugar and a dash of vanilla, and sandwiching the biscuits together. Do them in groups of four, and lie the stacks on a plate so that the biscuits are horizontal. So that you have the cross section of stripes when you cut into it. Lay three or four stacks in a length so that you have a log shape. Now cover the whole lot with more softly whipped cream. Decorate with broken chocolate biscuits, lollies, or whatever else you fancy.
You could add Baileys or another alcohol to the cream. You do need to be careful when adding liquid/alcohol/vanilla to cream as it may seize. Or just pour a few shots of alcohol over the biscuit stacks.
You could use frosting instead of cream. Or the chocolate mix from the tiffin above. A chocolate glaze is a nice addition. To make a chocolate glaze simply stir a teaspoon of vegetable oil into melted chocolate and pour it on.
Cream cheese and orange biscuit cake
Here’s a nice cream cheese frosting with a bit of orange zest and a little honey. Maybe a touch of cinnamon and these ginger and date biscuits?
Mix 600g cream cheese with 200g soft unsalted butter and 100g of icing sugar. Stir in 2 tbsp honey and the zest of 1 or 2 oranges.
Italian biscuit cake
In Italy, of course, they make their fridge cake with style. Not only will it include things like pistachios and candied peel, but is rolled into a sausage shape and tied up with string like an actual salami. It is even called chocolate salami.
Rocky road biscuit cake
Good old rocky road. Not to be messed with, it is simply fridge cake but with mini marshmallows and raisins. Milk chocolate please.
How to store chocolate biscuit cake
Whatever road of biscuit cake you choose to follow, it belongs in the fridge. Where it will live quite happily for 3 days if it has fresh cream or over a week if it does not.
Posted by: Anna | February 26, 2021
The perfect buttery biscuit crumb base is an essential part of a good cheesecake. Also part of many other desserts, it is a great shortcut to have up your sleeve. But you don’t need to stick with boring biscuits. Any biscuit can be used to make a great cheesecake base.
How to make a biscuit base
A classic biscuit crumb base is made from crushed biscuits mixed with melted butter and set in the fridge. It can form just the base of your cheesecake or dessert, or be pressed up the sides to form a crust.
You can get really creative with your base, and not just in terms of the biscuits used. Try piling the butter/crumb mix into the base of glasses and topping with chocolate mousse, or even just custard mixed with lemon curd.
Classic dishes using a crumb base, other than cheesecake, include banoffee pie, key lime pie, and peanut butter pie. You can make mini versions by lining bun tins with the biscuit crumb mixture. Not so classic ways to use a biscuit crumb base include lemon meringue pie with a biscuit base instead of pastry, or a lemon tart with biscuit base, or even a chocolate tart. Any dessert you can think of that uses a blind baked pastry base is a prime candidate for a buttery biscuit base.
What are the best biscuits for a cheesecake base?
As long as they are crisp biscuits not soft chewy type cookies, you can use any biscuits for your base. A food processor helps with chocolate coated or cream filled biscuits in order to form a nice even crumb. A cream filled biscuit will create a softer sweeter crumb but is well worth experimenting with. Some biscuits will absorb less butter than others, so you may need to play about with proportions.
You could try…
Or even a passion fruit cream.
Make a gluten free biscuit crumb base with our gluten free chocolate chip cookies.
Biscuit base recipe
This will line the base of a 23cm round tin. If you want to press the mixture up the sides, make twice the recipe.
125g unsalted butter, melted
- Blitz the biscuits in a food processor to a fine crumb. Or, put them in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Whichever you choose, you want something that looks like damp sand.
- Tip the crumb into a bowl. Even if you used a food processor.
- Stir the butter into the crumb using a wooden spoon or spatula. You want something that just sticks together.
- Press the mixture gently into the tin and set in the fridge for half an hour before filling.
- You can pile the crumb loosely onto a baking tray and set without pressing to form a crumble.
Can I make a vegan biscuit base?
You can make a vegan biscuit base as long as your biscuits are vegan and contain no animal products. Just switch out the butter for coconut oil or a plant-based butter. Choose a hard block butter, not a soft spreadable one.
Why is my cheesecake biscuit base too crumbly?
If your biscuit base is too crumbly, you may not have created a fine even crumb, or you may need more butter.
You may not have pressed hard enough when lining the tin.
However a base that is crumbly is infinitely preferable to one that is too hard.
If your biscuity base is too hard then you may have over mixed, which can often result if you blend the butter and the crumb together in a food processor. Too much butter can lead to a mixture that sets too hard – if your crumb mixture looks wet or greasy then you have too much butter. You may also just have pressed too hard when lining the tin.
Posted by: Anna | January 31, 2021
Try this easy ice cream sandwich recipe using triple chocolate cookies and salted caramel ice cream.
As well as the cookies and the ice cream you will need milk, dark and white chocolate, and chopped hazelnuts. Or use all purpose ‘nibs’ usually made from almonds – you will find them in the baking aisle. You will also need chocolate hazelnut spread.
You can make the cookie ice cream sandwiches up in advance and freeze them in batches.
Because biscuits…and ice cream.
An ice cream sandwich is made from ice cream sandwiched between biscuits, cookies, or wafers. The perfect decadent dessert, they are super easy to make using store bought cookies and ice cream. A drizzle of chocolate and a scatter of nuts gives you maximum impact for minimal effort. We add chocolate hazelnut spread to our recipe to make them extra special and super chocolatey.
Hazelnut triple chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich recipe
You will need –
1 pack triple chocolate cookies 4 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread 250ml salted caramel ice cream 50g dark chocolate, melted 50g milk chocolate, melted 50g white chocolate, melted 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
- Let the ice cream soften a little.
- Spread the cookies with hazelnut chocolate spread.
- Top half of the cookies with ice cream.
- Top with the other half to make sandwiches.
- Place in the freezer until the ice cream has firmed up a little.
- Drizzle with melted chocolate.
- Scatter with nuts.
- Transfer back to the freezer and serve as required
To make your ice cream sandwiches soft enough to eat, leave them at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. To make it easier to eat, wrap them in a folded square of greaseproof paper.