This recipe came from Australia, from my sister-in-law’s niece Chloe. My thanks to her Mum Muriel for sharing it with me!
These biscuits are seriously delicious. They are beautifully buttery with a delicate crunch. The topping – which I wasn’t going to bother with – is sweet and salty all at the same time, and really enhances these little biscuits. I was worried about the Rosemary flavour being too strong, but it was just perfect, humming away gently. The house smelled amazing after baking these!
So to Muriel, Chloe, and her colleague Paula – no longer the unnamed teacher from Australia; many thanks for getting in touch Paula, and for your delicious recipe – the Eating for Ireland (International branch) thanks you!
I used a 5cm cutter which gave me about 45 biscuits. I probably could have got more from the recipe if I’d rolled them all to a uniform thickness. Both the thin and slightly thicker biscuits work well, so feel free to see what suits you best.
As usual, please read the NOTES section..
- 2 baking trays, lined with non-stick parchment.
- Clingfilm or waxed wraps * see NOTE 1
- Electric mixer with bowl
- Small bowl for the topping.
- Your best chopping knife or a mezzaluna, and a non-wooden board.
- 250g Salted butter, at cool room temperature.
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 25g Rice Flour *see NOTE 2
- 1tsp. Vanilla Extract – optional
- 375g Plain flour
- 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary, washed, dried, and very finely chopped – see NOTE 4
For Sprinkling on top:
- 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
- 1/2 a tablespoon of Sea salt
- Other half of the fresh Rosemary
- Beat the butter, sugar, rice flour and half the chopped Rosemary until the mixture becomes light and fluffy – this took me about 10 minutes, which included scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
- Add the flour a tablespoon at a time until a thick dough forms.
- With lightly floured hands, divide the mixture into 2, wrap each one in a large piece of clingfilm or a waxed cloth, then flatten into a thin disc with your hands and CHILL in the fridge for 30 minutes (the chilling time really depends on what kind of a day it is, I suppose)
- While the dough is chilling, Line the baking trays with baking parchment, and mix the sprinkle ingredients together.
- When you’re ready to bake, heat oven to 160 fan.
- Remove one piece of chilled dough, unfold the clingfilm, put another sheet on top, and roll it out until it’s about half a centimetre thick. Mine was a little tough to roll out at first, but was fine after about a minute.
- Leave the second disc in the fridge until the first batch of biscuits is in the oven.
- Using any cutter you like – see NOTES 5 – cut out your preferred shapes and put them on the lined baking tray, as you cut them. Leave 2cms between biscuits, they don’t spread much.
- Gather up any off-cuts and re-roll. See NOTE 3
- If the mixture starts to melt – that’s probably an Australian note 😉 – return the dough to the fridge.
- Sprinkle the topping generously over the biscuit dough, and pat down very gently.
- Pop the filled tray into the oven, and bake for 12 minutes, then have a look. I always turn the baking trays around to assist in even baking. Have a look at the colour – they should be a nice light golden shade. Mine took about 15 minutes.
- Once they are cooked, remove the tray from the oven, and let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then remove the biscuits to a cooling rack.
- While the first batch is cooking, get the second lot ready for the oven. Any extra trays should be kept in the fridge until there’s room in the oven.
- I used Clingfilm, so that I could see what I was rolling out. The pieces of clingfilm were about 40cms square, with one extra piece the same size for rolling out the dough.
- I’d never used Rice flour before but I got it in Sainsbury’s, near the Pudding rice. I’ve checked on line, and if you don’t have Rice Flour, the same amount of Cornflour is the accepted substitution.
- The joy of rolling between two sheets of cling film, is that you don’t have to add any extra flour, so the quality of the biscuits isn’t affected. I just put my first-batch cuttings on top of the second piece of dough, and rolled away happily.
- Rosemary can be a very strong flavour, depending on the variety and even the time of year, so always use less than the recipe suggests rather than having an over-powering Rosemary flavour in these delicious biscuits.
- I prefer smaller cutters, but don’t forget to think about seasonal shapes for Christmas and Easter, Hearts for a wedding afternoon tea etc.
- Rosemary is, apart from Bay, the easiest herb to grow – even I can’t kill it! Buy a small plant and pop it into a flower bed or pot somewhere with access to sun, shade and water – it will grow like a weed for you! Of course you don’t have to use Rosemary – what about a little finely grated Orange zest for Christmas, Lemon for Easter, or Lavender in the Summertime? I’m leaving this up to you..
- Muriel tells me that these biscuits are an excellent accompaniment to a glass of wine. Please experiment, and report back!