Monday, 10 October 2011

Can't Buy Me Love

Fork Biscuits and Coconut Ice

A perk of this gig is that you get to taste everything you bake, to make sure the fruits of your labour are worthy of putting in print.  Speaking of labour, tasting lots of baked goods does nothing for a lady who’s 8 ½ months pregnant and hasn’t known in months what part of the weight is “baby” and what part is “far too many cakes and buns”.

Part of the fun of baking is actually feeding people, especially when I’m feeding those who look forward to tasting some of my cakes and telling me how amazing they are!  Went to visit my nephews and nieces yesterday so I decided to make some “Fork Biscuits” and some “Coconut Ice” for them as a pathetic attempt to buy their love (my head is lowered in shame even thinking about it!).  They all went down a treat and I left with a smile on my face from ear to ear.  It’s the little things in life that give me pleasure.

My aunt has been making Fork Biscuits for years and years and typical of old recipes that have been passed on, they are as unfancy as you could possibly come across but they are also the most crumbly, slightly chewy, delicious biscuits you’ll taste.  She has always flavoured them with the zest of an orange, but cinnamon, ginger or chocolate chips can be delicious additions.   The ones in the picture are flavoured with orange and white / dark chocolate chips because that’s all I had in the house when I went to make them.  The recipe says to bake them for 15 minutes, but you’ll need to watch them like a hawk from 10 minutes as they very quickly go from underdone to overdone.  They never get a golden brown colour but they’re done when you see a little bit of colour at the edge of the biscuit.

I found a handwritten recipe for Coconut Ice in one of my Mam’s cookbooks.  Again, this recipe is at least 25 years old and I have no idea where it comes from.  Coconut Ice is basically a homemade Bounty bar.  What I love about it is that (a)if you close your eyes you could actually be eating a Bounty bar and (b) because the recipe is so old, it just sticks to the essentials, 3 ingredients and 4 or 5 lines explaining the method.  Simple, no fancy ingredients, no complicated technique and it works.  Delicious!  I haven’t changed any part of the recipe from my Mam so you can see what I mean.

These are both perfect for kiddies birthday parties but they’re too good to be reserved for kids only.  I firmly believe that either of these recipes wouldn’t be out of place if they were wheeled out with a cup of coffee after a dinner party for friends.   

Fork Biscuits.
110g (4oz) soft butter
55g (2 oz) caster sugar
150g (5 oz) self raising flour
Grated zest of 1 small lemon or 1 small orange
Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Cream the butter, add the sugar, flour and grated zest and mix until it all comes together.
The dough can be used right away, frozen or kept in the fridge for up to a week until you need to use it.
Form into small balls, the size of a walnut.  Place on a baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork dipped in cold water.  Allow plenty of room for expansion.
Bake for 15 mins.  Allow to cool slightly for 5 mins on the baking trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 20 biscuits.

Coconut Ice
500g packet of icing sugar
397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
250g packet of desiccated coconut
100g bar of milk / dark chocolate, melted

Mix the icing sugar and condensed milk until smooth.
Add the coconut (reserving 1 tablespoon as a topping) and mix well.
Form into small balls with your hands and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Leave in the fridge to set for about an hour.
Dip each chilled ball in the melted chocolate and top with a little of the reserved coconut.
Makes about 50 walnut sized balls.

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