Sunday, 13 April 2014

Blackcurrant Flower Biscuits - gluten free


I love biscuits that contain berries......... There is always something which tastes a little bit virtuous in their fruitiness, as if you are eating something really good for you. In the grand biscuit scheme of things, I guess they are probably a lot better for you than some and at least you can be sure of some fruity nutrition along the way.


You rarely see fruit-based biscuits on sale in shops, whether in gluten or gluten-free form. I have no idea why that is, as they really are so delicious and elegant as to be quite irresistible. Children are particularly drawn to their unusual hue, which is fantastic if you want to sneak in a little extra fruit. And these biscuits have the added appeal of being a bit like the crunchy version of Ribena blackcurrant juice drink!


These pretty little morsels have been adapted from an earlier recipe of mine - the Strawberry and White Chocolate Hearts that were made for Valentines Day. Having bought some freeze-dried blackcurrants, I wanted to use them in something which really showcased their flavour. Biscuits seemed the way to go.


Freeze dried berries are an amazing ingredient. Their uniqueness and depth seems to be locked-in by the drying process so as to have a serious intensity when used in baking. They can be difficult to source, but the effort is worth every fruity mouthful. The aroma, texture and taste they produce is so natural as to be comparable to picking fruit off the bush.


I buy mine from an on-line health food supplier called Healthy Supplies, who sell an incredible range of dried fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, flours, nuts, grains and more unusual ingredients. They do sell fruits already ground into powder, but I buy them whole and grind them myself as this allows greater versatility for their use.


I made these biscuits for the school Easter fair as a gluten free option for the treat stall. They are such a beautiful colour and cut into flower-shapes, drizzled with a little white chocolate and centred with a micro egg, are very festive and are perfect to celebrate Spring and Easter.


They melt in the mouth, have a rich blackcurrant flavour and fragrance which is unmistakable and are crisp and creamy, sweet and tart all at the same time. The white chocolate drizzled over the top adds an extra touch of decadence and compliments the tang of the blackcurrant perfectly.


With the smaller bits of dough that were left between rollings, I even managed to make some teeny-weeny truly bite-sized morsels.


I am entering them as my second offering to this month's Treat Petite (as I didn't manage to get round to anything last month), the theme being Spring into Easter. Stuart over at Cakeyboi together with Kat at The Baking Explorer do a fab job in hosting this bite-sized challenge and I think these little edible floral tributes to warmer days are an ideal April entry.


Blackcurrant Flower Biscuits (makes about 30+ small biscuits)

Ingredients                          

30g white rice flour
60g cornflour 
30g potato flour
60g tapioca flour
20g sorghum flour
120g unsalted butter - cold & cubed
50g icing sugar
30g caster sugar
20g freeze-dried blackcurrants - finely ground into powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut cream (or milk if you have no coconut cream)

cornflour (to dust)

100g white chocolate (to decorate)
sprinkles

Method

  1. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  3. Weigh and mix together all of the flours, making sure any lumps are broken down.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add and stir in the sugars and blackcurrant powder.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of coconut cream and using a flat knife, stir and 'knead' to bring together as a dough. Add the rest of the coconut cream a little at a time so that you have a damp (but not wet) dough which is soft and smooth.
  7. Using your hands, gently knead the dough into a ball and then place on a cold surface which has been liberally dusted with cornflour.
  8. Ensure the top of the dough ball is also floured and then use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about ½ cm in depth.
  9. Use your favourite cookie cutter to cut shapes from the dough and place each dough-cookie onto the baking paper with a small gap between each.
  10. Bring together any remaining dough and re-roll, repeating the cutting process until all the dough has been used.
  11. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, checking half way through and swapping the trays round in the oven to ensure an even bake. 
  12. Leave the cookies in the oven when cooked, cooling the temperature slightly by opening the oven door for a few seconds and then closing again with the oven off, allowing the cookies to cool with the warmth of the oven (this enables them to become crisp without burning).
  13. When the oven has cooled to just warm, you can remove the cookies and leave to go completely cold on a wire rack
  14. When cold, use white chocolate and sprinkles to decorate the cookies as you wish.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-14 unless otherwise indicated

10 comments:

  1. Can't get over the colour of these - they're awesome!

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  2. These looks and sound amazing. I bet they really pack a flavour punch using freeze dried berries. Love the srty white chocolate swirl on top - so pretty.

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    1. Thanks Katie. They are certainly very very fruity. Freeze dried berries always have an amazing flavour quality. I love using them!

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  3. So pretty and colourful :-) I love using freeze dried fruit powders in baking but haven't come across blackcurrant (yum) before and thanks for recommending healthy supplies, looks like they have some good stuff!

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    1. Thanks Aimee. Freeze dried fruit powders are fab! I definitely recommend Healthy Supplies....

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  4. Wow, these look so beautiful!! What a wonderful Spring treat.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I agree, the colour is amazing..... so inviting!

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  5. Love the colour of these! Bet they tasted great..white choc on top is always a good idea.

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    1. Thanks. They tasted amazing! Really fruity...... The colour says it all and the white chocolate was a perfect contrast!

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