These biscuits were a surprise to me. I don’t bake biscuits often, nor do I crave them. When I first lived in London, sharing a house with a friend, we vowed not to buy them regularly – otherwise we’d eat them all in one sitting and feel terrible. But now, having experimented with alternative baking ingredients and leaving sugary, floury foods behind (saving them for occasional treats!), it was about time I gave biscuits another chance.
However, after many attempts , I always found myself with the same results: heavily relying on oats, I consistently got hard and dry biscuits. But not these…these double up as sweet and savoury at once, crunchy on the outside, but soft and buttery on the inside, floral in the basil and lemon notes, but earthy in the buckwheat flour. Both nice as a sweet companion for your tea, or a vehicle for salty cheeses like feta or parmigiano (in big fat shavings!). I think they would also be lovely with some chutney.
Lemon-basil biscuits (makes 16 biscuits)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup buckwheat flour (spelt would work here too, or oat flour for something closer to oat cakes!)
1/3 tsp sea salt (I love Maldon Sea Salt flakes – increase to 1/2 tsp if you want them more on the savoury side)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 heaped tsp of lemon zest
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil (in solid form) or butter
1/3 – 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup (use less if you want them more on the savoury side)
2-4 tbsp cold water
In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, salt, basil and lemon and mix well. Measure the coconut oil (or butter) and add it to the flour mixture in pieces. Mix it in with your hands, until you obtain a texture similar to sand. Almost like a crumble topping.
Add the honey or maple syrup and mix with a spoon until combined. Pour in 2 tbsp of water at first and mix well with your hands – the dough should start to come together. Add 1tbsp of water more and repeat the process – if, at this point, you can form a ball with the dough, don’t add any more. If it’s still crumbly, add another tablespoon. Once you manage to bring the dough together, wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge to chill for 30mins.
Heat the oven to 175ºC.
When the dough is chilled, unwrap it and place it on a sheet of baking paper. Cover it with another sheet and roll it out with a rolling pin, until it’s about 5mm thick. Once rolled, remove the top sheet, place it on a oven-proof tray and cut out circular biscuits with a cookie cutter or a glass. Place the biscuits on the tray, well spaced. Each time you reach the point where you can’t cut out any more biscuits, bring the dough together and roll it out again. Cut out more circles. And repeat until there is almost no dough.
Bake in the oven for 10-15mins or until they are slightly golden around the edges. Don’t worry if they feel soft – they will finish cooking as they cool. Leave them undisturbed for 30mins as they cool down.