There is nothing more British than a biscuit. Whether the summer heralds torrential rain or blazing sunshine, we have a biscuit to match. Grey and gloomy skies? Shortbread, gingerbread and squashed fly biscuits it is. Soaring temperatures and sun lotion? Bring out the lady’s kisses and ice-cream sandwiches (or “sliders”, as they are known in Scotland). Whatever the weather, a Brit without a biscuit is like a dodger without the jam.
These recipes, and a great many more, are presented with panache in the aptly named book Biscuit, by Miranda Gore Browne, who was a finalist from The Great British Bake Off in 2010. This is a comprehensive guide to the art of biscuitery, featuring everything from “biscuits for beginners” through to “celebration biscuits” and, rather wonderfully, “almost healthy biscuits”. The Sunday Telegraph joined Miranda in her kitchen in West Sussex to observe her in action.
“I thought we’d start off with good old jammy dodgers,” says Miranda, arranging ingredients on the table. “They’re colourful, cheery and fun, and they bring a smile to everyone’s face.” Perfect, that is, for cheering up the children hunched under a tree during a rainy country walk.
Watching Miranda at work means picking up little iced gems of practical wisdom. For example: softening butter. “If you use the microwave, the butter goes oily,” she says. “Then you get annoying little puddles when you bake it.” She fills a bowl with lukewarm water, which she refers to as a “baby bath” (she has a new baby called Henry) and floats the butter in it. “It softens naturally, evenly and quickly,” she explains. Continue reading on the Telegraph website