Happy Easter 2013!

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Happy Easter to all my readers! It’s a beautiful day to enjoy our family, friends and good food. I hope you all are having a good time! What are your Easter plans? For Easter 2013, it will be a relaxing day for my family and I. We (including our Papillon-mix dog) are going out to eat! There are a number of restaurants in my town that allow dogs in the outdoor area. Can’t wait! Since I am not cooking, of course I had to bake something! šŸ˜€ I read an interesting post over at Lois Elsden’s blog (be sure to check out her blog!) on her Easter treats and saw a recipe for Easter Biscuits that fascinated me.

What intrigued me was the use of cassia oil. Cassia is one of the types of cinnamon commonly used, but I had never heard of the oil. Cassia oil is arguably a must in making British Easter biscuits. In some recipes, mixed spices are used, but I am convinced that using oil of cassia is the way to go in this baked good. I tracked down oil of cassia on the internet, but if you can’t find it I think cinnamon oil would work fine. It’s interesting, as I was researching these biscuits, I learned that there are regional varieties. In London, lemon is commonly used as a flavoring and in Sedgemoor, brandy is used. There are many more countrywide varieties out there with different mixes of spices and dried fruit. Following the recipe from Lois Elsden’s blog, I made an Easter biscuit with a more Bristol influence using the cassia oil and currants. I have to admit though, I tend to tinker around with recipes. It’s just an impulse of mine. Since I enjoy gluten-free baking and Passover is going strong until Tuesday, I made two versions of Easter biscuits: Kosher and gluten-free versions.

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Most Easter biscuit recipes that I have come across use caster sugar (superfine or Baker’s sugar) as the sweetener. I just make my own using evaporated cane sugar (or regular granulated sugar) and blitzing it in my spice grinder. The texture is in between granulated and powdered sugar. Both the gluten-free and the kosher biscuit doughs were very delicate, so I decided to shape them into logs, wrap them in wax paper, refrigerate them, and slice them into rounds. This is the ice-box/refrigerator cookie technique. Usually you would roll out the dough and use a round, fluted cookie cutter.

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Side-by-side comparison: gluten-free on the left and kosher on the right. I think I could have made them thinner, especially the kosher ones made out of matza cake meal. Nonetheless, both biscuits were tasty. The outside was crisp and inside it was crumbly & soft-ish but not doughy. A bit different than shortbread, but similar. I love the currants too. Oil of cassia really makes a difference. It brings all the flavors and textures together in this biscuit. Not too sweet either, just the right touch of sweetness. I will be making both of these cookies again!

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Gluten-Free Easter Biscuits

(adapted from Campaign for Real Farming)

makes ~40-45 biscuits depending on size

Ingredients

  • 7 oz butter
  • 5 oz caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 drops oil of cassia
  • 10 oz gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 2 oz currants
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add egg yolks and oil of cassia and beat for another 3 minutes until thick and fluffy.
  2. Dry ingredients: In another bowl, sift together the flour, flax, salt, and guar gum. Add half of the dry ingredients while the mixer is running on low speed and mix until combined. Then add the other half of the dry ingredients and mix until a dough comes together. Mix in the currants for a few seconds. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Divide the dough, roll into 2 logs and wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and/or spray with oil.
  5. Slice the dough logs 3/8 inch thick and place cookies on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle with caster sugar and let cool on a wire rack.

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Kosher Easter Biscuits

(adapted from a Ronne Hellman recipe on Epicurious)

makes about 35-40 biscuits depending on size

Ingredients (Kosher for Passover)

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (also known as superfine sugar)
  • 2 sticks margarine (or butter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 drops oil of cassia (or a dash of cinnamon)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 & 1/2 cups matza cake meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  1. Beat sugar and margarine for 3 minutes. Add the egg and oil of cassia and beat for another 3 minutes until thick and fluffy.
  2. Dry ingredients: In another bowl, sift together the potato starch, cake meal, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients while the mixer is running on low speed and mix until combined. Then add the other half of the dry ingredients and mix until a dough comes together. Mix in the currants for a few seconds. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Divide the dough, roll into 2 logs and wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and/or spray with oil.
  5. Slice the dough logs 3/8 inch thick and place cookies on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle with caster sugar and let cool on a wire rack.

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We just enjoyed a nice stroll around the neighborhood and an indoor Easter egg hunt for our dog. She had fun looking for the treat-filled eggs!

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We wish you all

a Happy Easter!

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14 thoughts on “Happy Easter 2013!

  1. – I’ve never heard of these biscuits before, and I’ve lived in the UK for ever! Nor did I know of oil of cassia, even though I’m aware of the differences between cassia and cinnamon. Don’t you just love blogging for learning something new. These sound ideal for me as they’re not too sweet. Will have to try them at some stage.
    – Hope you’re Easter was how you wanted it to be.

    • Thank you. I always love learning something new. I hear that Marks & Spencer have their version of it, though I don’t know too much about that store since I live in the US.

  2. Pingback: A weekend with the dogs and some chocoflan | food flavor fascination

  3. Pingback: Happy Easter 2014! | food flavor fascination

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