Grab Your Spoon: British Biscuit recipe

by Grab Your Spoon

Watching the Great British Bake Off on BBC2 this evening led me to musing on the biscuit. Contestants were challenged to produce their own signature biscuit – with ginger and chocolate predominating amongst the entries.

What would I have made? What makes a good biscuit? Is it the crunch or the melt? The filling, or the extra additions, such as nuts or spices? The dunkability in your cup of tea, enough to melt but not to dissolve; or the instant hit of sugar that satisfies that need for comfort? I have a weakness for the plain based Balkan biscuit that also has a thick layer of dark Belgian chocolate – crunchy, sweet and bitter, all in one go. Some days nothing but a ginger biscuit will do, to accompany the scalding hot cup of tea that cheers you up on a rain sodden afternoon. When in continental mood, a crunchy, hard as nails biscotti with an espresso to dunk it in packs the requisite punch.

The bliss of baking your own biscuit cannot be underestimated though. Try these simple lemon biscuits and bring some citrus sunshine to your next tea break. (Note to US readers – the British biscuit is like a cookie, not the soft dough biscuit you are more familiar with – we call them scones!)

Simple but lovely biscuits


125g unsalted butter, at room temperature

100g golden fair trade caster sugar

1 egg, free-range please!

200g plain flour*

juice and zest of 2 lemons

¼ teaspoon baking powder

a pinch of sea salt

Plain flour, for dusting

3 tablespoons demerara sugar


Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. (If you want to improve your arm’s muscle tone, ditch the mixer and use a wooden spoon and bowl).

Beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the flour, lemon, baking powder and salt and mix until you have a ball of dough.

Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or until firm. Note – you can freeze the dough at this point.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until ½cm thick. Cut out shapes and place on a grease-proofed tray. Leave plenty of room between the biscuits, in case of spreading.

Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are light brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Munch.


Alternative versions: use an orange instead of the lemons and add a pinch of ground ginger or cinnamon.

*If you’re a gluten free type, change the flour to 150g of gluten free flour and add 50g of ground almonds.

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