Buttery biscuits: too easy not to make
Vanessa Greenwood: Sandwich-style biscuits open a trove of icing and flavour options
Photograph: Harry Weir
These somewhat naughty buttery biscuits are filled with a deliciously smooth orange cream. They are ridiculously easy to make, requiring only a handful of ingredients. You can get a bicep work-out in the kitchen whipping them up with nothing more than a wooden spoon and a bowl (as long as your butter is softened to room temperature).
Size is important when making these biscuits. Form them into balls the size of a large marble or, more commonly described in the baking world, as “walnut size”. Too large, and they won’t fit into your mouth when you join two biscuits together. With a passing resemblance to the famous toy, some people call these yo-yo biscuits. Others might call them fork biscuits due to the crumbly shortbread-like texture and imprint on top.
This sandwich-style biscuit opens up a treasure trove of colourful icings and flavour options. You can easily adapt them to your own style of baking. Using custard powder in the biscuit dough would yield a passable custard cream.
A single imprint with the tines of a fork gives a decorative finish. Cross hatch for a more detailed pattern. It is worth buying good quality butter for biscuits like these, for that moreishly rich buttery taste. For a kid’s birthday party, miniature size filled biscuits with a colourful icing would be a sensational addition to a party spread alongside the chocolate crispy buns. You could freeze the biscuit dough and buttercream filling well in advance and simply bake and fill them on the day of the party.
ORANGE CREAM BISCUITS
For the biscuits
120g plain flour
Pinch of salt
120g softened butter
60g icing sugar, sieved
Zest of 1 orange (reserve half for the filling)
For the buttercream filling
50g softened butter
100g icing sugar, sieved
Orange zest and a squeeze of orange juice
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Sieve together the flour, cornflour and salt.
Place the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to soften it. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and pale in colour.
Next, beat in the sieved ingredients and half the orange zest to a firm dough (if you prefer to use a food processor, blend the butter and sugar together before blending with the dry ingredients and half the orange zest).
With cool hands, form the dough into 16 equally sized balls (“walnut size”). Use the back of a fork to imprint the top of each ball, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Place them on two lined baking trays, allowing enough space between them to allow for slight spreading.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, removing them from the oven while still pale golden in colour.
Leave to cool for 1 minute, then transfer the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the buttercream filling by combining the softened butter and sieved icing sugar together. Add in the remaining orange zest and a squeeze of orange juice for added flavour and a smooth creamy finish.
Once the biscuits are cool, match them up into equal size pairs. Put a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of one biscuit, place a second biscuit on top and gently press together so the filling spreads towards the edges. Serve on a pretty plate.
You can substitute vanilla extract for orange in the dough to make plain cookies. For different fillings, you can mix it up and substitute passion fruit pulp or coffee essence into the buttercream filling.