Enriched biscuits made for the Easter festival. The most traditional types, recorded from the start of the 20thCent are a round fruited shortcake, usually with spices including cinnamon. There is a certain tradition, especially in Bristol and the Westcountry, of flavouring Easter Biscuits with Oil of Cassia - a cinnamon extract - partly in the belief that this oil was used to embalm Jesus.
The more recent practice of making Easter Biscuits in springtime shapes decorated with sugar-ice etc we first find mentioned in a 1949 edition of 'Homes and Gardens' magazine.
Old-type Easter Biscuits
Original Receipt from 'Sussex Agricultural Express' - Friday 12 April 1935
EASTER BISCUITS 8 ozs. flour, 5 ozs. butter, ozs. castor sugar, 1 egg, 2 ozs. currants, A few strips of candied peel. Lemon rind, teaspoonful of mixed spice, Pinch of salt. Rub the butter into the flour, sugar, spice, lemon rind and salt; add currants and candied peel. Make into stiff dough with the egg and very little milk, if necessary. Roll out to i inch thick and cut into rounds with fancy cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven until brown and crisp. When almost cooked brush over with a little beaten white of egg and sprinkle with castor sugar. Return to the oven to finish cooking.
Original Receipt from Hobbs House Bakery, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol
100g organic golden caster sugar
1 organic egg
½ tsp baking powder
100g soft butter
250g plain flour
2 tbsp milk
tiny drop of oil of cassia or 1 tsp mixed spice
Heat your oven to 200°C. Put greaseproof paper on a big baking tray.
Beat the sugar and butter together until soft and fluffy.
Add the egg and whip until fully incorporated.
Fold in the flour, baking powder and spice.
Gently mix the lot together whilst adding the milk, tweak your quota of milk to yield a roll-out-able dough.
Lastly, knead in the currants.
On a floured table, roll your dough to about 5mm thick.
Stamp out your biscuits with a pretty cutter and lay on the tray.
Bake until the edges just start to turn golden and they have the tiniest bit of colour underneath (about 12 minutes) and remove immediately.
Sprinkle with caster sugar while still hot, then allow to cool.
Burnley Express - Saturday 04 April 1914
Mary Berry's Traditional and Iced Easter Biscuits
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