Biscuits are always a great thing to make with children, and are quick and easy enough to whip up for a quick teatime treat or to add interest to an ice cream – these go particularly well with burnt orange ice cream to make an elegant dessert.
Once you have made the biscuit dough, you can keep it wrapped up like a fat sausage in greaseproof paper in the fridge, slicing off rounds to cook as necessary. I’m sure they keep well, but they never last long enough to find out!
200g unsalted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
225g self-raising flour
the finely grated zest of an unwaxed orange
the juice of an orange
100g very fresh, whole roasted hazelnuts
If your hazelnuts are not roasted, put them into a broad-bottomed pan over a medium heat and cook for around five minutes until they are lightly browned and aromatic. Be careful not to scorch them.
Zest the orange and set the zest aside for now, then juice the orange and boil the juice down over a high heat until you are left with a tablespoon of thick reduced syrup. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
Bash the hazelnuts in a mortar until they are reduced to small lumps, don’t go too far and leave yourself with dust, these biscuits are best with a bit of texture. Children love doing this bit.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer, or by hand. Add the egg and whisk it in, then sieve in the flour, add the zest and nuts and combine well, then beat in the orange syrup.
On a lightly floured piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, divide the biscuit dough in two and shape into two fat sausages about 2 inches (5cm) in diameter. Wrap in parchment or greaseproof paper, and refrigerate for at least two hours, they are even better left overnight.
Heat the oven to 190C/ gas 5.
Slice the dough into as many round biscuits as you wish to cook, about as thick as your little finger. Place them on a greased baking tray, ensuring there is plenty of space between them, and bake in the middle of the oven for around 8 minutes. They should not have coloured significantly, keep an eye on them because they go from perfect to burnt in a flash.
Using a pallet knife, remove the biscuits to a wire rack immediately. At this stage they are very soft and bendy, but they crisp up very quickly. They will be crisp, nutty and scented with orange.
They are delicious served warm with burnt orange ice cream, which should be removed from the freezer 30 mins before serving.