My first memory of cooking is making salt dough decorations.
If you’ve never made salt dough with kids it’s so much fun. The recipe is basic:
- 2 parts flour, 1 part salt & 1 part water.
- Mix into a dough, roll and cut into whatever shapes you want.
- Pierce each with a pen so you can string them up later.
- Bake in a low oven at 100˚c for 3-4 hours until they are completely dry.
- Cool, then paint and hang with string.
Note: do not eat! You will be sick.Now, the only biscuits I really enjoy baking (and can be trusted to make) are ones where all the ingredients are mixed up in a food processor, rolled and cut with my retro cutters, just like salt dough.
The shortbread recipe I use is from Adam Stokes on Great British Chefs. It’s tried and tested and i’ve made them so many times – it makes light buttery biscuits that are lush and soft in the middle with a short snap. I’ve taken the vanilla and cinnamon from the recipe and instead use jam to make dodgers.
Makes around 20 large jammy dodgers
For the biscuits
- 100g caster sugar, for dusting
For the filling:
- 1 jar of strawberry jam – seedless, just to keep them looking more authentic
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 250˚C. Add the flour, icing sugar, butter, salt and egg to a food processor and blitz until the ingredients form a ball. (If you don’t have a food processor start by sieving the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl then add the softened butter and yolk. Mix with your hands to make a dough).
Take half, roll out on a well floured surface until as thick as a pound coin. Take a circular biscuit cutter, whatever size you like, and make as many circles as you can. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, turning half way through until they are slightly golden around the edges. Keep on a cooling rack
Now with the other half of dough, cut out the same amount of circles as you have already cooked and using a wine bottle cap/ water bottle lid or anything else that you can find, cut out a smaller circle of pastry from the middle of each circle, being careful not to jiggle the pastry around too much or it with shrink. Bake these holey dodger lids as before and leave to cool.
For the filling, pour the jam out into a mixing bowl, sieve in the icing sugar and mix well until smooth. Now assemble the dodgers by plastering less than 1 teaspoon of jam on to the circle and gluing a holey biscuit on top. Once they have all been done, sprinkle on both sides with caster sugar and serve.
And in case you did want to know what my top 4 biscuits of all time are:
- the Jammy dodger (obviously the perfect biscuit)
- the garibouldy (underrated, cheap, perfect with tea)
- the dark chocolate digestive (niche but I like a bit of bitter with my biscuit. Also, they’re not too sweet so I can eat a whole pack)
- the Jaffa cake (lets not get into that debate. They are delicious and succeeding in pulling off the chocolate and keeping the jelly in tact is a true craft and a lost art!)
If you do happen to disagree and there is something you prefer that I can replicate at home, please let me know!