Archive for Peanut butter

Peanut butter plectrum biscuits

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 22/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Inspired by a guitar plectrum-shaped cake that my mum made many years ago for my brother’s birthday, I decided to knock up some plectrum biscuits (that’s cookies to you, American cousins). In a nod to Elvis, who died last week in 1977, I flavoured my biccies with peanut butter, famously one of his favourite snacks.

Fender plectrums

I recently procured the Biscuiteers Book of Biscuits, which I used as a basis for this recipe. It’s the first time I’ve used the professional method of separate line and flooding icing, hence the slightly wobbly results. The recipe is a bit long-winded, but it’s all worth it in the end. Here’s what to do…

What you’ll need:

250g plain flour (sieved)
100g soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
65g salted butter (softened and diced)
65g golden syrup
1 egg
1-2 tbsp milk
65g peanut butter

For the icing:
180ml cold water
1kg royal icing sugar/mix
Whatever colours you choose (in this case, yellow, blue and black gel colours)

Plectrum biscuit and plectrum

What to do:

Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and crumble into the mixture using your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. In another bowl, lightly whisk together the egg, syrup, one tbsp of milk and the peanut butter. Tip the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together until you get a soft dough. Add a dash more milk if it feels too dry. Divide the dough in half and mould each into a flat disc before wrapping in clingfilm and popping in the fridge for at least an hour.

Plectrums

Once chilled, unwrap the dough and place between two sheets of parchment before rolling out to 5mm thickness. Keeping the paper on, put the dough back in the fridge for about 20 minutes (on a baking tray or chopping board). While the dough is in the fridge, pre-heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven)/350°F/gas mark 4. After chilling again, you’re ready to cut out your shapes, either using ready-made cutters or your own templates. To make your own, just draw or trace your design onto a piece of parchment and then stick this a spare piece of card and cut out. You can then bung this on top of you rolled-out dough and cut round it using a sharp knife. Place the shapes on a lined baking tray, leaving plenty of room between each biscuit. Cook for 14 minutes or so (you may need more time, depending on your oven). The biscuits are ready when they start to turn golden brown around the edges. Once out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and make sure that they’re completely cool before icing, or it won’t stick.

Plectrum biscuits

For the icing:
Chuck the water in a large bowl, then add 900g of the royal icing sugar and whisk together until the icing is roughly the same consistency as toothpaste. You might need to add more icing sugar if it’s not thick enough. For this recipe, you’ll need to save three small bowls of icing at this stage – two for making the outlines and one of the Fender writing. Colour one blue, one yellow and one black, by adding tiny amounts of colouring at a time and mixing in with a fork until you get the colour you want. Take the first outline colour, bung in a disposable icing bag and snip the end to make a small hole. Pipe the outline of a plectrum around the edges of half of your biscuits, making sure that you join the ends up to create a tiny wall of icing. Do the same with the blue icing. Next divide the remaining icing from your original bowl into two parts. This will be your flooding icing, so you need to colour each bowl to match the yellow and blue outline icing. Once done, spoon carefully into the middle of each biscuit and smooth out to the edges using a cocktail stick. Leave to dry.

Colour the third tiny bowl (that you saved earlier) with black colouring, pop into an icing bag and snip of a small section at the end. You might want to practice writing the Fender logo in a piece of parchment before you have a crack at icing your biscuits.

Finally, return your biscuits to a baking tray and place in very cool oven – about 50-70°C/120-160°F/gas mark1/2-3. This may sound like utter madness, but it actually helps to restore the biscuits’ crunch, which can be softed by the moisture in the icing.

You might also like these Elvis peanut butter chip biscuits that I made earlier this year.

Elvis peanut butter chip biscuits

Posted in American food, Biscuits, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/01/2011 by libbyplummer

Elvis biscuitsI have a mild obessesion with Elvis Presley. It’s not quite at the same level as that of Christian Slater’s character in True Romance ( I don’t ‘talk’ to Elvis when I’m alone), but it’s safe to say that I’m a fan. To paraphrase Elvis’ TCB motto, this weekend I set about Taking Care of Biscuits.

Firstly, to clarify – when I say biscuits, I’m referring to what the Americans call cookies, not the scone-like rolls that they serve with fried chicken and gravy. The biccies themselves are inspired by the Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special – the best live show ever made (well, I think so).

Elvis Comeback Special

It’s no secret that Elvis was a big fan of peanut butter (and quite a lot else besides), and that’s why I added some Reese’s baking chips to a basic vanilla biscuit recipe for my Presley-inspired concoction. These aren’t very easy to find in the UK so I get mine online at Americansweets.co.uk. If you want to make your own confectionery-based homage to the King of Rock ‘n Roll (and lets face it, who doesn’t) then read on and get stuck in.

Reese's peanut butter chips

What you’ll need:

For the biscuits:
90g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Reese’s peanut butter chips (as many as you like)

For the glace icing:
150g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
Paste food colouring

For the royal icing:
250g icing sugar
1 large egg white
Paste food colouring
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

What to do:
First, cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. You can do the mixing using an electric mixer or processor or whatever if you like, but I use a wooden spoon and good ol’ fashioned elbow grease. In a seperate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and then add to the original mixture. Stir together until it’s all combined. Next, add your peanut butter chips into the mixture. You can use as many as you like, just add a small handful at a time, and see how it looks. Once all mixed in, roll the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. If the dough feels a bit too sticky, then add a touch of flour. Leave the dough to chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C (fan oven)/gas mark 4. Sprinkle some flour onto a chopping board or kitchen worktop and roll the dough out until it’s about 50mm thick, adding a sprinkle of flour every now and again if need be, to prevent it from sticking. Cut out your chosen shapes and place onto a lined baking sheet (make sure they’re well spaced, or they’ll fuse together in the oven when the dough expands). Bake for about 12 minutes or until the biscuits are slightly golden around the edges and slightly soft in the middle (they’ll firm up while they cool). Once out of the oven, transfer them to a wire cooling rack and after they’re fully cooled down then you can crack on with the icing.

Elvis biscuits on cooling rack

Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of (not quite boiling) water from the kettle and mix together. If the icing is too thick, then add a bit more water (only add a tiny bit at a time). Next, colour the icing. I use Sugarflair paste colouring as it’s much more effective than the liquid stuff. I add it sparingly, a bit at a time, using a cocktail stick. Once coloured, you can use a knife to spread the icing on if you like, but personally, I just hold the biscuits upside down and dunk them in the bowl – it’s much easier and gives even coverage (just like the black icing in the picture)

Once the icing has set, if you want to add some extra detail, then royal icing is your best bet. For this, simply sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, add the egg white and whisk until the mixture is really white and forms into stiff peaks. If it’s too stiff, then add a couple of drops of lemon juice. Once it’s mixed, add colouring if you fancy and then pipe away. I coloured mine red so that I could create the ‘name in lights’ effect. This royal icing recipe makes quite a bit, so you might want to scale it down if you’re not adding much detail.

And there you have it – Elvis peanut butter chip biscuits, displayed lovingly on the Comback Special tray that I bought in Vegas last year (I knew it would come in handy eventually).

Thank you, good night.

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