Chocolate wheaty biscuits – you had me at hello. These are my perfect biscuits – perfect for dunking in tea, for taking on picnics, for packing in lunch boxes and nibbling at your desk. So I was pretty happy to come across an excellent recipe for making them at home. Happier still to be able to share it all with you here. Thank you Michelle Crawford!
Some weeks ago, myself and 15 others got together for afternoon tea on a spectaular hillside just out of Orange, NSW. The location was Kurrafalls Farm, home to beautiful pastured chooks, Dorper sheep and the Darley family (you may remember we visited these guys for the blog around this time last year – here’s their story). The afternoon tea involved vanilla and rose scented chai tea and the aforementioned chocolate wheaty biscuits. The occassion was a farm photography workshop for My Open Kitchen with the incredible Louisa Brimble. It was the best. I’ve been meaning to share the recipes for both of the above for some time but moments at my desk have been few recently and so this blog, my beating online heart, has been sadly neglected. I’m sorry everyone! Don’t give up on me.
So here below are some pictures from that good day, plus recipes. And if you want in on all we are up to in My Open Kitchen land (some very cool things on the horizon too!), please head over to that site to sign up for our weekly newsletter and stay in the know (come May next year when we host our first ever gathering in Orange with a stellar line up of speakers – you’ll be glad you did!)
Michelle Crawford’s chocolate wheaty biscuits
This wonderful recipe comes from an equally wonderful book; A Table in the Orchard, by Tasmanian cook and food writer Michelle Crawford (she’s one of those speakers I mentioned who is coming to our gathering next May!). Thank you Michelle for allowing me to reproduce this recipe here. Sadly this book is now out of print so if you don’t have a copy, you can should purchase it as an e-book,
for the biscuits
120g wholemeal spelt flour
60g dark muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
120g butter, cut into small pieces
1-2 tbsp milk
For the chocolate topping
120g milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 180C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
In a blender, grind the oats until they are a coarse consistency, then in a large bowl, whisk the ground oats, flour, sugar, bicarb soda and salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon or two of milk, just enough to help the dough come together.
Shape the dough into a disc, cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then put the dough between two pieces of baking paper and roll out with a rolling pin until about half a centimetre thick. Cut out circle about 7cm wide (I used 10cm cookie cutters), place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
While the biscuits are cooling, break the chocolate into small pieces in a shallow bowl. Melt by placing the bowl in the oven – which should be turned off, but still hot, for five minutes. Carefully remove the bowl with an oven mitt and stir the chocolate. Hold each biscuit horizontally by the edge, carefully dunk it face down into the chocolate for a second then remove and allow the drips to run back into the bowl. Place on a rack and allow the chocolate to set.
The biscuits will keep for three days in an airtight biscuit tin.
Vanilla rose chai
I really love making this recipe – in part because it makes the kitchen smell amazing, in part because it is such a lovely, different thing to make and share for morning or afternoon tea, but mostly because it’s so so so good. The hint of rose comes via a sprinkle of Herbies Fragrant Sweet Spice Mix – I have been using Herbies spices for many years now and love love love so many of their special spice mixes but none more than this one. You can find them at most kitchen shops or online (none of this is sponsored – I’m just a big fan!)
5 cinnamon sticks
3 tbsp whole allspice berries
3 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
4 star anise pods
4cm piece ginger
8 cups water
3 tbsp good quality black leaf tea
Preheat oven to 160C then mix your spices together and toast on a baking tray until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Combine toasted spices, ginger and water in a saucepan and simmer on high until reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and steep for five minutes. Strain, discard the spices and tea and decant straight into cups or into a jug to keep in the fridge.
When ready to have your tea, heat the chai with equal parts milk to chai until steaming, sweeten with the vanilla syrup.
Vanilla rose syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tbsp rosewater
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out pod reserved
To serve – sprinkle with Herbies fragrant sweet spice mix (or your own concoction!)
To make the vanilla syrup, combine sugar, water and vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan and heat, stirring occassionaly until the sugar dissolves. Store in the fridge in a glass jar. Makes 1 cup.