Hello! I’m back! The Centenary Games are all over but the shouting (alas, there is quite a bit of shouting still), and I am actually getting to do things like come home from work on time and then SLEEP. During which time I dream about the Centenary Sports Carnival and its controversies, but hopefully this too shall pass.
One of the more unfortunate side effects of not being at home much for months and months and months and not being in any fit state to think or do anything creative when I was has been the insane buildup of random stuff all over my kitchen. I am too terrified to tackle the pantry just yet, but today I went through the fridge and started going through the mess on the benchtops and kitchen table.
The result? The discovery that I had about twelve open packets of nuts of various varieties in numerous degrees of fullness, as well as an inordinate amount of butter and the last little bits of a truly ridiculous range of chocolates (some from Easter, some from Christmas, some from zombie Catherine making ill-advised purchases when there were specials at the supermarket).
Obviously, the only response to this situation was a nut- and chocolate-centric baking frenzy, and so this afternoon, I have made four kinds of biscuits, three batches of my brownie packet mix (each featuring a different collection of chocolate odds and ends), and some rather decadent-looking raw chocolate lava cakes that will be tonight’s dessert.
(And now I have no desire whatsoever to make dinner, for some reason. Who would have imagined this?)
Anyway, the good news for this blog is that three of those recipes were brand spanking new ones (where on earth did that saying come from, anyway? I have a feeling that if I try Googling this, I’m going to see things that I cannot unsee, so I think I’d better leave well alone), which means that you have three gluten-free biscuit recipes coming soon to this blog. Huzzah! And one of them is vegan! Double huzzah!! And two of them are really, really easy, fast ones, too! Triple huzzah!
Yeah, I’m a little manic right now. Hi!
These biscuits fall into the super-easy category, once you find the strawberry gum in the first place. This is an Australian native ingredient – a eucalypt with a strawberry scent to it. I got mine from Peppermint Ridge Farm, who visit a number of Farmers’ Markets around Melbourne. Herbie’s Spices also stock it, though I think their herb had a milder flavour than the one I used. I recommend adjusting the recipe to taste – it tastes pretty much the same uncooked as it will cooked, though the herb fades slightly in the oven.
I’m super happy with this recipe. It tastes like nothing I’ve ever baked before, and it is both simple and delicious. Also, the biscuits come out an attractive shade of pale green. I think I’ll be using these in my Christmas hampers…
Your Shopping List
100g almond meal
1-2 tsp powdered strawberry gum leaves (check the taste before adding the second teaspoon)
50 g sugar
Now what will you do with it?
Pre-heat the oven to 165°C, and line a baking tray with paper.
Process the macadamias in a food processor until you have smallish crumbs. Macadamias are quite high in fat, so you won’t be able to make a true macadamia meal – they will start turning to butter if you try – so if you had been planning to start with almonds and turning them into meal with the macadamias, I’d recommend putting them in to the processor first.
Dump the macadamias into a bowl with the sugar and strawberry gum, and stir together until well combined. Taste, to see if you are happy with the ratios. Break in the egg, and mix with a fork, then your hands, until you get a rather sticky, light green dough.
Dampen your hands so that the mixture doesn’t stick too much (good luck with that), and roll the dough into small balls, about the size of a small walnut or a large marble. Flatten down gently with your fingers. You should get about 16 biscuits from this mixture.
Put in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are firm, slightly cracked, and a little golden underneath.
Let cool on a rack before eating. These biscuits will be squidgy in the middle, and that is as it should be.
These biscuits are gluten-free, dairy-free and low fructose, but obviously not nut free. You could make them with all almond meal, if macadamias specifically are a problem for you, but obviously, since the biscuits are mostly nuts, you can’t really remove the nuts entirely. You might be able to veganise them with the right liquid sweetener, but I’m not sure.
While these biscuits are certainly not low-GI, they are fairly low in sugar, with a bit over 3g of sugar per biscuit. So they are not an absolutely terrible choice for those who are trying to reduce their sugar intake, assuming those same people are still determined to eat sweet biscuits.
In terms of flavour variations, these are actually themselves a variant on the Sin-Black Purim Biscuits, which is my new favourite gluten-free biscuit template, as you will shortly see. I think they would be nice with lemon myrtle or wattleseed, but you would want to adjust the sugar – strawberry gum has a sort of sweet taste which meant I could reduce the sugar significantly, but lemon myrtle does, I think, need a bit more sugar to work. I haven’t worked with wattleseed very much, but suspect the same would apply. And of course, there are many other spices you could use in this recipe instead of the strawberry gum.
But these biscuits are just beautiful as they are, so if you do get your hands on strawberry gum, I recommend giving them a try. I think they are the best thing I’ve made all year.