Basic biscuits

This basic biscuit recipe is super easy to make and can be used as the base for lots variations of biscuit- lemon, orange, chocolate chip, cinnamon, etc. We made chocolate chip ones recently for Halloween, hence the ghost shape, which were delicious. I think we’ll probably make cinnamon or ginger ones nearer to Christmas.

225g softened butter
110g caster sugar
275g plain flour
125g chocolate chip (or see other variations below)

Cream butter until soft
Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
Sift in the flour
Bring the mixture together to form a dough
Roll the mixture out until 1cm thick and use cutters for desired shape
Bake the biscuits at 170°c for 15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly firm on top

Other variations:
Lemon/Orange – grate the zest of 1 orange or lemon and add with the flour
Chocolate – substitute 50g of cocoa for plain flour
Spices – add 1tsp of ground spice to the flour, why not try ginger, cinnamon or mixed spice (perfect at Christmas)
Fruit or nuts – add 125g of sultanas, raisins or chopped nuts to the mixture with the flour

We often make a few batches of these biscuits in one go, but we only bake one batch on that day. With the other batches we form a sausage shape and wrap it in cling film and place in the freezer. Then when we fancy a couple of biscuits you simply use a sharp knife, dipped into hot water, to cut slices 1cm thick. Then bake for 15 minutes as per usual. We often do the basic dough for this and then before the biscuits go in the oven we add mini smarties or chocolate chips to the top, as they cook they’ll melt into the dough. Easy peasy perfect biscuits!

– Lau


Herman Cake

The Herman Cake is a friendship or ‘chain cake’. Just like the letters you had as child except this time you end up with a scrumptious cake instead of random letters! Once you’ve looked after and nurtured your Herman cake for nine days you split the mixture into 5 ‘baby Hermans’. You then give away four of the babies to your friends and use the fifth one as the base for your cake, simple! Although it may seem like a hassle to spend ten days making a cake, it will certainly be worth it.

To make your very own Herman cake you will need:
460g flour
500ml milk
230g sugar
90ml warm water
2 tbsp active dry yeast

Start by sprinkling 1 tbsp of sugar over the warm water, then sprinkle the yeast on this.
Leave the mixture in a warm place for about 10 minutes so that it doubes in size.
Mix all the other ingredients and the yeast mixture together in a large bowl and stir together.
Cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel and place in a warm place.
Follow the instructions below to finish your Herman cake. These are also the instructions that you need to give away with your four baby Hermans.

Day 1 – Pour him into a bowl as he will continue to grow. (make sure to use a large bowl as Herman will expand quite a lot!)

Day 2 – Stir Herman 3 times throughout the day, with a wooden spoon.

Day 3 – Stir.

Day 4 – Feed him 200mls milk, 200g caster sugar and 250g sifted self-raising flour.

Day 5 – Stir.

Day 6 – Stir.

Day 7 – Stir.

Day 8 – Stir Herman (don’t forget to talk to him).

Day 9 – Feed Herman as you did on day 4. Then split into 5 little Hermans and give 4 away with these instructions.

Day 10 – Feed your remaining Herman baby with the following ingredients:
150g Self raising flour
3 beaten eggs
150g caster sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon powder
100g chopped nuts or dried fruit
2 finely chopped apples
100ml of oil

Cook Herman in a lined 7″ cake tin for about an hour at 180ºC.

*There are numerous variations to this cake, chocolate, ginger, etc so feel free to add things other than apple, sultanas and cinnamon. There are loads of recipes for other variations, so have a check online for other options.