I admit it. I’m a MasterChef addict. I don’t know why I am, because most of the time it drives me right up the wall – in fact, this year I’ve managed to avoid the addiction up until this week, when the depressing effects of a chest infection left me vulnerable to mindless TV-watching.
Anyway, last night, they had this MasterClass, and in one of the ads they talked about Matt’s recipes with only two ingredients – and then they showed a picture of biscuit dough and I went, oh yes, obviously peanut butter and flour. Which, actually, it wasn’t. The two-ingredient recipe was a different one. But it seemed to me that the principle was nonetheless sound.
After all, your basic shortbread biscuit only has three ingredients – butter, flour and sugar – so if you start with something like my beloved chocolate tahini, which contains both fat and sugar, you really shouldn’t need anything except flour to make a biscuit recipe out of it.
And guess what? You don’t. These biscuits have a lovely, sesame-chocolate flavour and a slightly dry, gritty texture from the rice flour and grainy tahini, but they are also surprisingly tender. They absolutely cry out for a glass of milk or a cup of tea, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
So herewith – the simplest biscuit recipe of all time. Two ingredients in equal proportions, and vegan, gluten-free and low-fructose to boot. What could be simpler?
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200 g rice flour
200 g chocolate tahini
Optional extra: cinnamon sugar, to coat
Now what will you do with it?
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
Use your hands to work the flour and tahini into a smooth dough. Initially, it will look far too dry to ever work, but fear not, it will wind up with a clay-like consistency, which is just what you are aiming for.
Roll the mixture into small balls – I’m going for medium marble-sized – and put them onto a baking tray. Use the tines of a fork to press them down a bit and give them a pretty shape.
Alternatively, take your small balls of dough and drop them in a bowl of cinnamon sugar, then roll to coat. Press down with your fingers into thick discs.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are a little bit cracked on top and a little golden underneath.
These biscuits are already vegan, gluten-free, low fructose (and low FODMAP, too), and nut free, provided the person you are cooking for can tolerate sesame seeds (some people with nut allergies can, some really, really can’t, so make sure you check). They are not especially low-GI, though there are worse choices out there. At least these are small, not too sweet, and high in protein…
In terms of variations, you could, of course, use plain flour and Nutella – the proportions might be slightly different, but if you do what I did while designing this recipe and add Nutella or chocolate tahini to the flour bit by bit until you get the texture right, you shouldn’t go wrong. This recipe is pretty forgiving. I’d start with 3 parts flour to 2 parts chocolate tahini and work up from there.
You could use other sweetened nut butters, or unsweetened nut butters with a little sugar and vanilla added. Almond butter with a little sugar and orange zest would be lovely. Pistachio butter with a little honey and rosewater could be amazing. I suddenly have this urge to go wild with nut butter shortbread biscuits…
I suspect you could make rather a lovely savoury biscuit for the same recipe using plain tahini and a little salt. It would be fun to then roll it in a mixture of salt with cumin and paprika or chilli added, I think.
I am submitting this recipe to this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families. This month’s challenge is all about the Gluten Freedom, so go forth, visit the blog, and prepare to enjoy all the chocolatey, gluten-free goodness you can imagine…