Battle of the Biscuits

Baking is a great pleasure of mine. I find the whole process of measuring, whisking, and creaming quite therapeutic; my mind drifts away and I feel peaceful. And of course, it’s nice to bring satisfaction to other people and to know that they appreciate what they’re eating.

A friend of mine expressed a particular liking for a batch of sultana oat cookies I made a while ago, and as she was coming over for the evening, I decided to surprise her with a fresh trayful. I used a new recipe, and if the five she ate were anything to go by, I think it’s safe to say that she enjoyed them.

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Here’s the recipe I used (not mine!). You’ll need:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 170g softened butter (if using unsalted, add 3/4 tsp salt)
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g Demerera sugar (the recipe asked for 200g, but I didn’t think I needed that much!)
  • 180g rolled oats
  • 100g sultanas
  • a large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 and a half tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla essence, and mix well.

Sift in the flour, then add the bicarbonate of soda, the cinnamon and salt. Fold in the oats, then the sultanas. Make sure to scrape around the bowl to incorporate all the oats into the dough.

Take small handfuls of the mixture and line them up on the trays. You should get about thirty altogether. Flatten them, then bake for eighteen to twenty minutes.

Whilst browsing Youtube, I came across Deliciously Ella’s sultana oat cookies on her channel. I quite like Deliciously Ella, and admire her whole holistic approach to food – for example, in the comment box below the video for these cookies, a user asked for nutritional information; she cannily replied that she counts ‘goodness’, not calories.

So I decided to pit these two recipes together. And it is with sadness that I report my disappointment at the result of my attempt at the latter. The biscuits had a strange, stodgy texture, despite the considerable amount of time I spent straining the grated apple to get rid of excess liquid, and my leaving them in the oven for ten extra minutes. Although sweet,the cinnamon didn’t really come through at all.

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(They don’t look particularly appetising, it has to be said)

I had high hopes for these – but alas, success was not to be! Perhaps I didn’t follow the method correctly; or perhaps the recipe just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. You can find it here on Deliciously Ella’s website, but I’ll repost it briefly:

You will need:

  • 4 red apples
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 150g sultanas
  • 270g oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp honey

Grate the apples, and strain them in a sieve to get rid of excess moisture. Mash the bananas, combine with the rest of the ingredients, then put tablespoons of the mixture on to a greased baking tray (they’ll stick otherwise). Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

What have I learned from this little experiment? That traditional recipes might be less likely to disappoint! Also, that grating apples really gives you armache.

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