You will also need a 7cm (2¾ inch) and a 4cm (1½ inch) fluted cutter. If you don’t have the smaller cutter in your set, don’t be tempted to go for a larger size as it will make the hole too big. I have found the flat end of a large icing nozzle works very well.
Also 2 large baking trays/cookie sheets, greased.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer or food mixer. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, gradually beat in the egg and then the vanilla extract.
Sift the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix in until just combined.
Now tip out onto a work surface and gently knead by hand until a soft dough has formed.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 0.5cm (¼ inch) thick. Then using the large cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them onto the baking trays/cookie sheets.
Keeping all the whole rounds on one tray and the centre cut ones on the second tray, use the smaller cutter to remove the centres of half the rounds. (Don’t try to remove the centres from any whole rounds before placing on the trays/sheets as they will become misshapen when lifting them on.)
Keep re-rolling the leftover dough and cutting out the rounds, making sure there are an equal number of whole rounds and cut rounds. There should be enough dough to make about 15 finished biscuits.
Bake the centre-cut rounds for 8–10 minutes and the whole rounds for 12–14 minutes, or until the biscuits are just starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Spread a thick layer of strawberry jam over the whole rounds and then place the cut rounds on top.
Finish by dusting with icing/powdered sugar. The sugar will melt on the jam but will remain on the biscuit.
140g (5 oz) plain/semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
You will also need a piping bag fitted with a 12.5mm (½ inch) star-shaped nozzle
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Measure the butter in a large bowl and sift in the sugar. Beat vigorously until soft and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.
Now gradually add the sifted flour, mixing to make a soft dough.
Spoon into the piping bag and pipe 6.5cm (2½ inch) lengths onto baking trays/cookie sheets, cutting the dough off at the nozzle with a small knife. The dough should yield about 30 biscuits.
Bake for 18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes. Now, using a palette knife, carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool. They will be very delicate until they have cooled completely.
Next place a basin over a pan of just-simmering water and add half the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and then add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is of a smooth consistency. This makes for a lovely shiny chocolate coating.
Place kitchen paper beneath the wire racks to catch any chocolate drips. Then dip each end of the biscuits in the melted chocolate (you may not need all the chocolate). Return them to the wire racks and leave until the chocolate has set.
2 tbsp golden syrup (or liquid honey, if unavailable)
55g (2 oz) cocoa powder (½ cup)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
3 tbsp milk
For the filling
85g (3 oz) butter, softened (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
115g (4 oz) icing/powdered sugar (1 cup)
14g (½ oz) cocoa powder (2 tbsp)
Large baking tray
For the biscuits
Sift the flour into a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients. Beat everything together until they start to clump together. A food mixer or processor makes this very easy to do.
Tip from the bowl onto the work surface and knead to bring the dough together into a ball.
Mark a rectangle, 23 × 30.5cm (9 × 12 ins) on a sheet of baking parchment. Turn the sheet over and this will give a guide when rolling out the dough.
Place the dough in the centre of the rectangle and roll out to the markings, dusting the rolling pin with flour as needed. Neaten up the edges so there is a clean rectangle shape of the right size.
Cut the dough lengthways into three equal strips, 7.5cm (3 ins) each, but keep the strips together. The easiest way to do this accurately is by using a clear ruler. The ruler can also be used as a guide to cut the dough.
Now cut across the strips 2.5cm (1 inch) apart in the same way, keeping the rectangle intact.
Using a small skewer, make 5 dots, spaced evenly apart, down each long side of the biscuits to resemble the traditional Bourbon.
Carefully lift the parchment onto the baking tray and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut through each biscuit to make sure all the cuts are separate. Leave on the tray to cool completely.
For the filling
Sift the icing sugar/powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and add the softened butter. Beat together until combined. It will be a fairly thick butter cream.
Now turn over half the biscuits on the tray and divide the buttercream evenly between each one. This can be done neatly using a piping bag or spread on using a small palette knife.
Sandwich the biscuits together and store in an airtight container.
Take two pieces of baking parchment and cut to fit the baking sheets. Mark one side of each piece of parchment with sixteen 4.5cm (1.75 in) lines, spaced evenly apart. (This will give a good guide when piping the biscuit mixture.)
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
Then sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in until completely combined.
Dab a small amount of mixture on each corner of the baking sheets and place the baking parchment to fit making sure the marked side is facing down on the sheets. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe 32 lengths as marked on the pieces of baking parchment.
Bake for 12–14 minutes until they are just starting to become darker around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to become cold on the baking sheets, then remove with a palette knife to a cooling rack.
For the filling
While the biscuits are cooling make the filling.
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cold water, then beat until it is smooth and creamy.
Turn 16 of the biscuits over and using a teaspoon divide the filling between them. (This way it is easier to see if the mixture is evenly divided before spreading.) Then using a small palette knife, carefully spread the filling over the biscuits. Now sandwich together with the remaining halves.
*Golden syrup isn’t readily available in North America. I can find it in some grocery stores and I know I can get it in the small stores that sell British products. If it is impossible to find, liquid honey would be a substitute. Golden syrup is very thick so you don’t want anything too runny.
2 large baking trays/cookie sheets
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Put the sugar, butter and syrup into a large deep-sided pan and gently heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring to combine the ingredients well.
Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
Meanwhile lightly grease the trays/sheets.
In a separate bowl sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda then stir through the oats.
Now add the dried mixture into the pan a couple of spoonfuls at a time stirring to combine.
Shape into 24 balls and place on the trays/sheets spacing well apart. Then flatten the balls a little. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and leave on the trays/sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.
Then beat in the eggs and vanilla essence/extract until the mixture is smooth.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and fold into the mixture. Then stir in the oats and raisins until the raisins are evenly distributed. The dough will be quite stiff.
Spoon rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart. The dough should make 4 dozen cookies. This may need to be done in two batches. Just make sure the baking trays/cookie sheets are allowed to cool before spooning the remaining batch of dough mixture onto them.
Bake for 10–12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool for 1 minute on the tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Melt the butter and syrup in a small pan and set to one side while mixing the dry ingredients.
Mix the flour, sugar, oats and soda together in a large bowl. Then stir in the melted butter and syrup.
Divide the mixture into 16 even portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the baking sheets spacing well apart. Flatten down a little.
Bake for 15–18 minutes until just golden. Leave on the trays for a couple of minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water to melt. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
The biscuits should now have cooled completely. Using a pastry brush, thickly paint the chocolate over half of each biscuit, coating both the top and bottom. Return the biscuits to the wire racks to allow the chocolate to set.
Beat the butter until it is light golden in colour.
Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Beat in the egg yolk along with the vanilla essence/extract.
Then fold in the sifted flour until the mixture is soft and smooth.
Place balls of the mixture, just a bit bigger than 1.5cm (½ inch) in diameter, onto the baking sheets spaced well apart. The mixture should make 32 biscuits. Gently press the balls with a fork to flatten a little.
Bake for 10–12 minutes until they just begin to become lightly golden round the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
The first chocolate chip cookies were baked by Ruth Graves Wakefield in Massachusetts in 1930. These ones use milk chocolate chunks and are crisp on the outside but still slightly soft in the middle – they don’t stay around for long!
100g/3½ oz light muscovado sugar/soft light brown sugar
85g/3 oz granulated sugar
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
250g/9 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
140g/5 oz milk chocolate
2 large baking trays lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Put the butter in a pan over a low heat until just melted. Set aside and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Pour the butter into a large mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon, beat in the sugars, egg, salt and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.
Next, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and stir into the mixture to form a firm dough.
Then cut the milk chocolate into small chunks and mix into the dough until evenly distributed.
Spoon equal amounts of dough, evenly spaced, onto the baking sheets to make 24 cookies. Give them space to spread during baking. Flatten the mounds of dough a little and then bake for 10–12 minutes. The edges should just begin to turn golden but the middles will still be soft. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.