the narrowboat baker

Baking on a narrowboat named "One Thing After Another"

Apple and Elderflower Biscuits

These biscuits remind me of summer…. I think it’s the elderflower in them, simply because I remember picking it from the fields in summer, the sun still warm, yet shimmering through the trees in the woods on the outskirts of the open fields around me.  I remember the way the sun fragmented through the trees, casting shadows with the piercing, yet musty scent of the elderflowers all around me.  Whilst it was still warm, the sun was low in the sky, hinting that autumn would soon approach.

I remember walking back to the boat with the biggest bunch of elderflowers and just being in one of those rare moments where nothing else seems to matter….just appreciating the day and the scenery around me. Everything can seem perfect in a moment like that, but in reality, everything is rarely ever perfect. I guess that times like that are there to remind us that despite chaos and uncertainty around us, take a moment and appreciate what is already around you. 

I got back onto the boat and tied the bunch together , hanging it above our wood burning stove to dry out whilst I got thinking about what to create with them. It all seems like a distant memory looking back as I write this. It’s cold outside, the wind is howling and the rain is pouring down, bouncing on top of the boat roof like little mice on a tin can. I still have the elderflowers now. Once dried, you can store them in an air-tight container – just like you would any other herb or spice.

So what did I make with my elderflowers that was memorable, I hear you ask?! 

A cocktail? 

A cake?

No. I needed something more delicate…

….and there was my answer – a biscuit.

****************

Makes 12 Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 60g room temperature butter
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 50g sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 50g coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, diced small (just under 1cm size)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 /2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Scant 1/4tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 2tbsp dried elderflowers, finely chopped (flower only) 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Method:

1. Preheat your oven to Gas 4/180C/350F. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take out all your ingredients beforehand and make sure they’re really room temperature.

2. Start by peeling and chopping the apple finely and toss with the lemon juice. Leave to one side whilst preparing the biscuit batter.

    

3. Using the flat beater of a stand mixer, or electric whisk, beat the sugar and brown sugar with the butter until light and creamy looking – it’ll take a few minutes. Follow this by adidng the egg and continue beating for another minute before adding the vanilla extract.

    

4. In a seperate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, oats and salt until well blended. With your mixer on a low speed, slowly add to the butter mixture until well combined.

5. Finally, give the pecans a rough chop and fold in to the biscuit mixture, along with the diced apple and finely chopped elderflowers.

6. Using two spoons, drop slightly bigger than walnut-size balls of the mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving enough soace to accommodate for the mixture to spread out whilst baking.

7. Bake in the centre of the oven for at least 12 minutes -12 minutes will result in a soft and chewy biscuit but I personally think these are better as a crisp biscuit and cook mine for 22- 25minutes.  Cooking for this length of time should result in a richly bronzed biscuit with a nice even colour.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will get more crisp as they cool…. If you can wait that long! 

 

Perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea… And a great reminder of a summer long gone.

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One comment on “Apple and Elderflower Biscuits

  1. foxglovenarrowboat
    February 5, 2014

    Oh my goodness Lewis, just read the beginning couple of paragraphs and you really do inspire me and also lift me, not physically, that would be impossible, but lift my spirits. A good reminder we should all appreciate what is around us. Your photography and writing skills, again, are superb! Please put your talent to good use and get this book published……I want the first copy and signed please :-) xxxxx

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