Friday, April 1, 2016

Sedgemoor Easter Biscuits

Ok, so I am a little late with the Easter baking, but I really wanted to make these cookies! Sedgemoor is in Somerset, England, which is where most of my husband’s family lives. I showed this recipe to my husband and he said that they are like Shrewsbury biscuits, which I have made before. There are a lot of similarities certainly, but just enough different that I wanted to give them a try. I thought it odd that the recipe for a British cookie comes from the New York Times, but so be it.

I did a couple of slight changes to the recipe. The original recipe called for the cookies to be rolled out, which is traditional. In reading the comments on the website, one person commented that they had made this into a slice and bake cookie. I don’t roll out cookies all that frequently, and it makes quite the mess, so I opted for that route. I do think that the cookies would have been too sticky to roll out. Even after refrigerating overnight they were still a little sticky. I also used regular all-purpose flour rather than a mix of flours.

Soak the currants in brandy (or Grand Marnier in my case) at least an hour. The longer you leave them, the better! Mine soaked for a day and a half and they were lovely. They smelled a little like the Christmas cake my husband makes, as it also contains alcohol-soaked dried fruits. The original recipe said to bake these for 25 minutes, but that seemed too long. I baked mine for 15 minutes, then added just a touch more. The less you bake them, the softer and crumblier, whereas mine are a little crunchier. I just glazed mine just once, as that seemed enough. British cookies aren’t as sweet as American cookies, and the currants have a wonderful natural sweetness. I really love these; buttery and sweet.

Sedgemoor Easter Biscuits
¾ cup dried currants
2 tablespoons brandy (or fruit juice)

1-1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, slightly softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the currants and brandy. Stir, and allow to sit for at least an hour.  

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the mixer bowl. Mix on medium until crumbly. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the sugar mixture to the mixer and mix on low. Add the egg, vanilla, and the currant/brandy mixture. Stir on low until the dough comes together. 

Shape the dough into a 2-inch diameter log and wrap in plastic wrap. Alternatively, shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

If you have shaped the dough into a log, slice into ¼” slices. Or roll the dough about ¼” thick and cut into rounds. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and set. The baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your cookies.

Just before the cookies come out of the oven, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl to make a glaze. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, brush the cookies with the glaze. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If desire, brush again with glaze once the cookies are cool.

Recipe from The New York Times

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