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Here is my contribution to the army of biscuit recipes that circulate at this time of the year, delivered to you from a house filled with cardboard boxes. Out stuff is half packed, the lounge looks like a storage unit (with a sofa in it) and drill and parcel tape are always at hand. Yes, we are moving. In two weeks we will leave the place we have lived in for the past two-and-a-bit years and move on to bigger, and hopefully better, things. Christmas and New Year’s being just around the corner have complicated the logistics a bit, but fingers crossed by the end of December we will be living in Manchester. Back to the biscuits, these may look unimpressive, but don’t let appearances fool you: they are delicious. Sandy, melt-in-your-mouth, browned butter biscuits, with a hint of lemon and the sudden crunch of fennel seeds which graces only a few of them, they are the stuff of (biscuit) dreams. I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of biscuit making. Biscuits are the one cooked/baked thing where I fail the most, the main culprit being not treating butter with the care it deserves, as well as falling victim to the pitfalls of high temperatures. Lately I have been exploring a few of the basic recipes (cantucci, shortbreads, shaped ones, filled with jam ones, almond paste…) and am pretty chuffed with how the majority came out. And with this, I leave you to the recipe, I hope you try it and enjoy it. Here’s to hoping that the oven in our new flat will be as good as this one…

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Browned butter hazelnut biscuits

Adapted from a preview of the second issue of Sated magazine

Ingredients
225 gr unsalted butter
zest from 1 organic unwaxed lemon
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
220 gr plain flour
30 gr ground rice
pinch of salt
70 gr hazelnuts
100 gr demerara sugar
2 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it looks dark golden, add the fennel seeds and lemon zest. Keep on the stove until lightly browned, then turn off, put in a bowl and leave to cool. Place in the fridge to solidify. In the meantime, place flour, ground rice and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan, then rub them in a tea-towel. The skins will come off. Roughly chop the skinned hazelnuts and set aside. When the browned butter has solidified, put it in a bowl and cream until light and pale with a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can use a food mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and stir until combined, then add the chopped hazelnuts and stir them in. Finally, add the flour mixture and incorporate quickly. To firm up the dough, put the bowl in the fridge for half an hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven at 175°C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Form walnut-sized dough balls and lightly flatten them with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then cool and a wire rack and transfer to airtight container as soon as cold.


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