You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I mean, for starters, there’s John Lennon, though I don’t believe that imaginary biscuits were ever on his agenda in a big way. Perhaps they should have been, but I can already feel this post tugging at the reins, trying to head off into La-La Land (sounds like a Eurovision song, I’m only waiting for it), and it would probably behoove me to get this recipe out there before things get too crazy around here *.
Anyway, speaking of dreamers, my friend Annette accused me on Thursday of corrupting her subconscious. She had apparently dreamed about me making biscuits with peach schnapps and dried apricots in them, and she blamed this entirely on me, because she doesn’t bake and there was no good reason she should be dreaming up recipes.
Personally, I don’t really mind who dreams up the recipes if they come together like this one, so I’m happy to subcontract the job out to Annette’s subconscious any time. It’s nicer than mine anyway. The last really vivid dream I had that involved cooking of any kind – well, suffice it to say you don’t want to know what went into that blender, but it definitely wasn’t vegetarian. It did come out very, very red, though. So yes, let’s go with Annette’s subconscious for now.
My first thought when considering Annette’s recipe was that one would start by soaking the apricots in the peach schnapps, but Annette was very definite that the schnapps should be added as a separate liquid ingredient. This is not exactly common to biscuits, so I chose to compromise by doing both (this is always the best way to compromise, don’t you think?). I based the recipe on a shortbread biscuit, because Annette doesn’t get on well with eggs, but I think this would have been a good move regardless – a more solid, chewy biscuit would have drowned the subtle peach flavour. And speaking of subtle peach flavour, do make sure you get a peach schnapps that actually tastes like peaches, not like peach flavouring. This is going to be the main flavour in your biscuit, so you want it to be a good one. (I used De Kuyper, which turned out to be a good choice.)
These biscuits have quite a short texture, and taste subtly of peach, with lovely chewy bits of apricot through them. They aren’t all that sweet, so I so I decided to ice them with an evil mixture of pure icing sugar and more peach schnapps. Yum. They really are quite delicious. Good call, Nette!
Your Shopping List135 g dried apricots 30 ml peach schnapps for soaking, 15 ml for the biscuit, 55 ml for the icing 300 g unsalted butter, cubed and softened 50 g icing sugar, plus 245 icing sugar for the icing 350 g plain flour 40 g rice flour silver cachous to decorate, if you like
Now what will you do with it?
Chop your apricots as finely as you have the patience for, but do try to be a little bit patient, or you will pay for it when you try to cut out the biscuits later.
Put the apricots in a bowl with the first 30 ml of peach schnapps, and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes, or, in my case, for how ever long it takes while you faff around getting the rest of the recipe sorted out.
Line 2 – 3 oven trays with baking paper. Soften your butter if you hadn’t already done so (about 1 minute at 50% in the microwave works for me, assuming I’ve diced the butter first).
When your butter is nicely soft, beat it with the 50 g icing sugar until it is pale and very fluffy. For once, I recommend a hand mixer. I am too impatient for a fork today.
Add 15 ml of schnapps, and beat again until it is well incorporated. I’m beginning to feel as though this is a drinking game and I should be suggesting to you that you take a swig of the schnapps every time you add some, but I think I’ll leave the drunken baking to this highly amusing lady.
I’ve now totally lost my thread, because I got distracted by cake… in a JAR!!! Sorry. Where was I?
Ah yes. Add your flour and cornflour to the butter mixture, and mix together until well incorporated. Stir in the apricots and their schnapps, and then bring the whole thing into a ball.
Preheat your oven to 180° C.
Roll your dough out to about 1 cm thickness between two sheets of baking paper (it’s quite sticky), trying to avoid touching it with your hands too much. Something tells me that resting this dough in the fridge might have been a plan, but I’m way too lazy for that, and hey, the biscuits worked perfectly well, so I think it’s all good.
Cut the dough out into 4 cm circles, or into any other shape you like, but bear in mind that you will have bits of dried apricot to cut through, so stars, for example, would be a right nuisance.
Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until just beginning to get golden around the edges.
Cool on their trays for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Once the biscuits are cool, prepare the icing. This is super-easy! Sift your 245 g icing sugar into a medium-sized bowl, and pour in the last 55 ml of schnapps (drink!). Mix together with a fork until everything is incorporated – you should have a consistency where if you drop the icing onto a biscuit, it will spread out a little bit but won’t run wildly off in all directions.
Use a teaspoon to drop a dollop of icing onto every biscuit. I think my biscuits were getting somewhere between half a teaspoon and a teaspoon of icing. Try not to eat all the icing straight from the bowl, as this really is the right amount for the biscuits.
Top each biscuit with a silver cachou, or other decoration of your choice.
These biscuits are already egg and nut-free. They could be vegan with a good dairy-free margarine, but you would want it to be a very good one, as they taste reasonably buttery. A good gluten-free flour mix would work well here, though I’ve heard rumours you can make shortbread with just rice flour and cornflour. Something to investigate. I’m afraid the dried apricots and probably also the peach schnapps preclude this being low-fructose, though you could always make an evil butterscotch schnapps version and use white chocolate chips, or even caramel chips. This would probably be insanely sweet, so I’d think twice before icing it.
Of course, this would be fun to do with other fruity schnappses (is schnappses a word? I feel sure it ought to be). Apple schnapps with raisins would be a fun pretendy-wholesome version, which I now feel compelled to try at once. Pear schnapps with dark chocolate chips would be good. Basically, let’s all just go to Dan Murphy’s and play in the schnapps section…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One year ago: Recipe: Stuffed Feta Shells with Ricotta, Mint and Feta Two years ago: Recipe: One step up from Takeaway