Nice Arse Biscuits
I met Emma Beddington on Twitter: she’s @belgianwaffling. She came to sell her ‘arse’ biscuits at one of my Underground Farmers Markets and sold out very quickly. 'Im a freelance writer based in Belgium with a great love of baked goods. My then seven-year-old son Louis discovered a Brigitte Keks printing set in a local toyshop and set his strange, orderly heart upon it. As soon as we got it home and out of the packet, the potential tor subversive biscuitry was immediately apparent. When Louis went to bed I started experimenting with his new toy and came up with a set of very rude, but also dainty and delicate biscuits, which I posted on my blog. They instantly caught the imagination of my similarly childish readers and a (small, unsuccessful) business was born. With my best friend Madevi, we created Cruel Tea, a range of rude word based teatime requisites: not only biscuits, but also tea cosies, fridge magnets and aprons, which we continue to sell with very little success on Etsy. Arse Biscuits are perfect served on a fine china plate with a lovely pot of leaf tea, to a short sighted elderly relative. (PS: I did eventually buy my own set of cutters and give Louis his toy back.)’ MsMarmiteLover says: I know readers will want to try this recipe. I used the same one to make ‘rich tea' biscuits, using a scalloped cutter and prodding holes in pretty patterns. Here. I’ve added desiccated coconut to give the flavour, as well as the appearance, of Nice biscuits.
|175g||salted butter, softened (or use unsalted butter and add ½ tsp sea salt)|
|2||large eggs, beaten|
|1 tsp||of any flavouring/extract you wish: vanilla, almond, lemon…|
|400g||plain flour, plus extra for dusting|
|½ tsp||baking powder|
You will need a Brigitte Keks printing set.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale in colour, then beat in the eggs and flavouring. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, then add the desiccated coconut. Mix slowly until it forms a ball of dough.
Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a ball, wrap both balls in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. These 30 minutes are the ideal time to decide what words you want to print on your biscuits. The Brigitte Keks printing set is easy to use but fiddly, with tiny letters likely to escape all over your kitchen. I sort them on a tray for easy reference. Fit your chosen letters into the cutter - short (four letter!) words look better, I find - and ensure they are centred. For sanity’s sake, I try to stick to one or two words per batch of biscuits, but you may be more patient than me!
Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 4). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Remove one of the balls of dough from the fridge and roll it out on a well-floured surface to around 5mm thickness. Take your time over this stage because it is crucial - if the dough is unevenly rolled, your biscuit won’t have that neat, plump surface that is the perfect foil for your rude word.
Cut out biscuits with the cutter. You need to cut, then depress the plunger thingy on the top of the cutter just enough to get the word well printed - you’ll probably need a few practice tries to get this right. Once you’ve got the hang of it (be ruthless, if they don’t look quite right raw, they’ll look terrible cooked), use a palette knife to transfer the finished biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. You want the flattest surface possible for an even rise.
Put the first batch in the oven and bake for around 8-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Note from Ms Marmite Lover:
Dip the cutter in flour before cutting out each biscuit, this way dough will not get stuck in it.