A recipe from the Good Food collection.
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- Cream the butter and sugar in a small bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and egg and beat until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sifted flour and baking powder. Using a knife, mix to a soft dough. Gather together, then divide the mixture into two portions.
- Place one portion of the dough on a sheet of baking paper and press lightly until the dough is 30 cm (12 inches) long and 4 cm (1½ inches) thick. Fold the paper around the dough and roll neatly into a log shape. Twist the edges of the paper to seal. Repeat the process with the other portion. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
- Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Cut the logs into slices about 1 cm (½ inch) thick. Place on the prepared trays, leaving 3 cm (1¼ inches) between each slice. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on the trays for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. When cold, store in an airtight container.
Note: Variations of the basic recipe can be made as suggested.
Add 1 teaspoon mixed spice and ½ teaspoon ground ginger with the sifted flour. Divide the dough into two, roll one portion out on a sheet of baking paper to a rectangle about 2 mm (⅛ inch) thick and trim the edges. Refrigerate until just firm. Spread with ½ cup (95 g/3 oz) fruit mince, and then carefully roll up swiss-roll-style. Repeat the process with the other portion of dough. Refrigerate, slice and bake as above.
Divide the dough into two portions. Add 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder to one portion and 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder to the other and knead each lightly. Divide both doughs in half again. Roll two of the different coloured portions separately to even rectangles about 2 mm (⅛ inch) thick, and then place one layer on top of the other on a sheet of baking paper. Trim the edges and roll up swiss-roll-style. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Refrigerate and slice as above.
Maple and Pecan
Add ¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) maple syrup to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Roll the logs in 1 cup (125 g/4 oz) finely chopped pecans before refrigerating. Press a whole nut into the top of each biscuit before baking as above.
Add ½ cup (45 g/1½ oz) desiccated coconut and ½ cup (70 g/2¼ oz) toasted chopped macadamia nuts with the flour. Using a ruler as a guide, shape the logs into a triangle shape. Refrigerate, slice and bake as above. When the log is cut, the biscuits will be in the shape of triangles.
Replace the brown sugar with caster sugar. Divide the creamed butter and egg mixture into three bowls. Add a few drops of red food colouring to one and 50 g (1¾ oz) melted dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons milk to another. Leave one plain. Add ¾ cup (90 g/3 oz) sifted flour and ¼ teaspoon baking powder to each bowl. Mix each to a soft dough, divide in half and roll into thin logs. Twist the 3 colours together to create a marbled effect, then shape the combined dough into 2 logs. Refrigerate, slice and bake as above.
These are the seed pod of a climbing orchid plant that is native to South America. The pods are dried and cured and are available at delicatessens. Pure vanilla extract is an aromatic, rich liquid made from the bean. It is very concentrated and should be used sparingly. Good-quality vanilla essence is is also extracted from the vanilla pod but is a thinner liquid. It has a strong flavour and is often used incookery for convenience. Imitation vanilla essence is a much cheaper synthetic product.