What goes better with a cup of tea than a sweet biscuit for dunking? And with Chinese New Year having just passed, what more excuse is needed than to cook up some sweet treats to share with loved ones?
I made these biscuits to take to my friends Katie and Belinda, who threw an amazing Chinese New Year dinner celebration! It had been an extremely hot couple of days in Sydney, so very ingeniously, the girls arranged a DIY rice paper roll dinner. It was a deliciously fun dinner as we practised our rolling skills (some more successful than others!) and tried to eat our creations without spilling out all our carefully rolled fillings!
|Lots of crisp, light and tasty ingredients, perfect for a cool dinner on a hot night!|
To add a lucky red touch, I decorated the biscuits with dried cranberries. The cranberries are quite a dark red, so if you prefer a more bright and shiny colour, glace cherries would be a nice alternative. I also intended the biscuits to be swirls, however, the swirls seemed to melt away after baking (the dough was quite soft, and probably more so due to the heat!). So it might be easier just to roll the dough into balls to avoid the extra swirling work. And be careful to keep an eye on the biscuits - sadly, some of mine burnt :(
The sesame flavour in these biscuits comes from tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Tahini is the perfect substitute for peanut nut butter for those who have nut allergies, as it has a similar consistency (if a bit runnier) and a similar nutty flavour. The tahini in these biscuits not only provides flavour but helps to hold the biscuit together. These biscuits are also egg-free and dairy-free, as well as being nut-free!
Of course, I couldn't resist trying one of the biscuits straight out of the oven. Whilst warm, the biscuits were crunchy on the outside, with a chewy, slightly gooey centre, and they tasted very moreish with the flavour of sesame. The cranberry added a fruity tanginess which was a nice surprise whilst eating the cookie. After they had cooled, the biscuits became firm and crunchy, and I believe they have sufficient sturdiness to withstand tea dunking!
Thank you so much to Katie and Belinda for holding a wonderful dinner - it was a lovely night, with great food and most importantly great company! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the new year!
Adapted from Super Food Ideas
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup tahini
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Makes approx. 24 biscuits
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Combine lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda in a glass bowl (mixture will become foamy).
3. Add sugar, honey, tahini, lemon rind, and oil. Whisk together until mixture is just combined.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and mixed spice over tahibi. Mix with a spoon until just combined.
5. Roll 1 teaspoon of mixture into logs and roll the log into a swirl (or roll into a ball and flatten slightly with a fork). Place on prepared trays, 4 cm apart. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place a dried cranberry in the centre of the biscuit.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, swapping trays halfway during cooking, or until golden and cooked through. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve.