My biscuit consumption has exponentially increased during lockdown, so much so that I’m convinced I’m keeping Tunnock’s & McVitie’s in business with my weekly shops alone at this point. It’s probably the comfort more than the eating itself (although, I do enjoy eating…definitely not going to fit into those jeans when all this is over), when everything else goes wrong, the first place I seek solace is in a cup of tea.
I think (& without trying to sound cliche here), it’s a very natural thing for us Brits. We’re a nation of ‘keep calm & carry on’. One of the primary tools we have in our arsenal to help us to do this is a good cup of tea. And no self respecting tea drinker would ever be without biscuits in the house. Whether you offer them out to console someone, to cheer someone up or just really need a good dunker, biscuits have your back.
Sometimes though, especially at the moment, it can be just as easy, if not even easier to make your own biscuits (a big batch preferably). In a bid to avoid the stress of going to the shops & staying safe at home, this is exactly what I find myself doing. No surprises there but whilst I find myself in the kitchen a lot anyway, it’s been wonderful to have time on my hands again to really get stuck into some bakes & have a little play around.
One such experimental bake are these delicate little thumbprint biscuits. Originating from Sweden where they are traditionally filled with raspberry jam & are called ‘Hallongrotta’ which literally means ‘raspberry cave’ (sounds a lot more exciting than ‘rich tea’ right?). Now we all know I’m a bit of a jam fiend but I usually prefer mine on toast so I’ve decided to add a little twist to these.
These pretty little biscuits wouldn’t look out of place in any European bakery display. Even with their rather more northern European origins though, these remind me very much of the extensive selection of tempting dainty biscuits you’d find on offer in any Italian pasticceria.
It’s for this reason that I’ve gone for a slightly more Italian influence of flavours here… chocolate, a classic but simple flavour staple & pistachio, my favourite flavour of gelato that I just can’t help but order each time (combine chocolate & pistachio gelato flavours & you’re on to a winner). The result is a light, crumbly little biscuit that isn’t overly sweet but just sweet enough for your cup of tea (or coffee if we’re really going Italian).
CHOCOLATE & PISTACHIO THUMBPRINT BISCUITS
(makes 40 biscuits)
- 225g butter
- 150g granulated sugar (plus extra for shaping)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 30g cocoa powder
To fill & top:
- 225g pistachio butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
- 40 pistachios
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy
- Add the egg yolks & vanilla, beat to combine
- Sift over the flour, salt & cocoa powder
- Stir until the mixture is well combined & a dough starts to form
- Use your hands to bring the dough together
- Shape the dough into a flattened disc, wrap with cling film & place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
- Once chilled, take 1 1/2 tsp sizes of the dough & shape into balls using your hands
- Place some granulated sugar onto a small plate or bowl & roll the balls through to coat
- Place the balls onto a parchment lines baking tray, well spaced apart & flatten slightly
- Use a 1/4 tsp or your finger to press a hollow into the centre of each biscuit
- Bake the biscuits in batches at 180C for 13–15 minutes, until small cracks start to appear along the edges of the biscuits
- Remove from the biscuits from the oven & you may need redefine the hollow on a few of them, do this whilst the biscuits are still hot from the oven
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before removing & allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack
- Once cooled, use the pistachio butter to fill the hollow of each biscuit before topping each with an individual pistachio for decoration