Lucky me, to receive this lovely baking book for my birthday from my similarly kitchen-obsessed little sister. Alice Arndell’s Alice in Bakingland is a treat for the eyes as much as anything, full of pictures of dainty plates, matching teacup-and-saucer sets, all showing off delightful mounds of delicious cakes and biscuits. Squeal!
So of course it was absolutely necessary that I set about testing some of these recipes as a matter of priority. These Raspberry Rings happen to be the very first recipe of the book. Yes, I was only one recipe in when I came across my first ‘must bake.’ I prefer to think this says more about the calibre of the recipes and less about just plain greediness on my part.
To make Alice’s lovely Raspberry Rings, I started by creaming together 200g softened butter and half a cup of sugar, then beating in 4 tablespoons of condensed milk, as directed. Readers of my blog may be aware of my love of creamed butter and sugar. Condensed milk does nothing to dampen the flame.
I continued to add the required 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 cups of plain flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The recipe asks that one shapes the dough into two flat discs, wraps in plastic wrap and refrigerates. Here are mine:
After half an hour in the chiller, one disc of dough is rolled out onto a very well floured board. And can I stress here the importance of lots of flour from my personal experience…it’s always a little upsetting to pick one’s hard-earned dough from the roller. Alice directs that the dough is rolled out to 4mm thickness, and 5mm rounds are cut from the dough. I have a lovely star-shaped cookie cutter that I simply don’t get to use enough, so I decided to do some star-shaped biscuits as well.
Now the surgical precision really begins….the next step is to cut little shapes from the centre of these rounds (and stars, in my case). I recommend a good sharp knife for this.
The second disc of dough becomes the bottom layer of the biscuits, so I made a second set of rounds and stars. The biscuits are baked at 190 degrees celsius until just going brown around the edges – this took about 10 minutes in my oven. Once cool, it’s time to sandwich the biscuits. Alice’s recipe asks for a teaspoon of jam, and I used mixed berry for about half of mine.
For the other half, I had a brainwave…Nutella. This delightful chocolate and nut spread billed as some kind of health breakfast condiment is usually something I eat from the jar with a spoon, so the step to delicious chocolately cement for biscuits wasn’t too difficult at all.
A gentle dusting with icing sugar and they are ready to go. The verdict? Both pretty and scrumptious. I can’t wait to try some more from this book.