I’m really excited to bring you this recipe today. It’s the first post in a new series called Australian Biscuits. It was originally going to run over the next few weeks and consist of four or five recipes for iconic Australian biscuits (cookies). With Christmas coming, I’ve got a bunch of festive recipes that I’ve just GOT to share with you in the coming weeks, so instead I’m going to spread this series out over the next few months, and allow you to savour each recipe!
In this series, I’ll introduce you to a few of Australia’s favourite store-bought biscuits, in homemade form. Some of these biscuits are not unique to Australia, but they are a big part of our biscuit-loving culture, so they make the cut. Most of the people who visit Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind are based in the US, and would refer to this as a cookie series, but I’m going to keep referring to them as biscuits. It’s just what I grew up calling them. Sorry for any confusion, my American friends.
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the first recipe in the Australian Biscuits Series – the Honey Jumble. These tasty treats are soft, chewy, almost cake-like gingerbread biscuits, flavoured with a touch of honey, some spices and topped with royal icing. Usually the biscuits will alternate with pink and white royal icing, but you can leave it plain or use any colour food colouring you like.
Honey Jumbles are full of warming spices that make them the perfect biscuit for this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is) – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. They’re perfect for munching on while sipping mulled wine or hot chocolate and enjoying all the festivities. Alternatively, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and are close to sweltering right now, I can’t promise these will cool you down, but you can enjoy them while dreaming of cooler climes!
Honey Jumble Biscuits
Prep Time: 25 minutes + approx 2 hours to cool, chill & set
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
½ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ cups plain flour
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp milk
1 egg white
1½ cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp lemon juice
A few drops of red food colouring (optional)
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter, honey and brown sugar, stirring until butter has melted. Bring to boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add butter mixture, followed by plain flour, bicarb soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and milk and mix well. Cover with cling film and allow to cool for 1 hour until mixture has thickened and formed a dough.
- Before dough has finished cooling, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for a minute or two, then divide evenly into quarters. Roll one quarter out into a long, thin rope about 25cm (10 inches) long. Slice into 5 equal pieces (5cm long each). Round ends to form an oval shape, then set on prepared baking trays, leaving a 3cm space between each biscuit. Use palm to flatten slightly. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for approx. 12-14 minutes, until edges have browned. Cool on baking tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While biscuits are cooling, prepare icing: whisk egg white in a small bowl until foamy, then slowly add icing sugar, whisking continuously. Stir in lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. If using red food colouring, spoon half the icing into a separate bowl and add a few drops of red food colouring to one bowl, stirring after each drop, until the icing is a pale pink colour.
- When biscuits have cooled completely, spread a layer of icing onto each biscuit, 10 with pink icing and 10 with white icing. Allow icing to set for 30 minutes before enjoying. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Taste.