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Last night I reached a metaphysical crisis point.

You see, I had gone to bed nice and early (9pm!) in order to read quietly before settling down to sleep. (My usual nightly routine is to stay online until whatever time my eyes feel like they’re bleeding and then haul myself off to bed with the potential inclusion of half an hour of my current book and a wonder at why it takes me ages to drop off to sleep.)

Not only is my current book not doing it for me (A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin) but after an hour and a half I was hungry. Not for a roast chicken dinner or anything, but maybe a biscuit.

There were no biscuits in the house. No biscuits, no muffins, no cookies, no small snacks of any kind. In the end I had to make do with a slice of bread and butter – which is all very Dickensian and not something up with which I intend to put.

(In case you’re interested, I also changed my book to Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.)

Consequently today I have had biscuits on my mind, and this afternoon I made some, cleverly including the extraneous pack of apple-juice sweetened dried cherries

I want to point out that I have a small amount of lemon curd in the fridge (a couple of tablespoons at most) and was very, very tempted to add that to the dough. But I refrained. I’m not sure why. Next time …

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Ingredients

  • 100g/3.5oz butter, softened
  • 100g/3.5oz caster sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 275g/10oz plain flour
  • 100g/3.5oz sweetened dried cherries, chopped

 

Method

Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line a baking tray/sheet pan with either greaseproof paper or a silicone sheet.

In a mixer cream the butter and sugar together. Once combined, add the lemon zest.

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Slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and combine well.

(I then removed the bowl from the stand and used a wooden spoon for mixing in the flour.)

Sift in the flour (I did this in three batches) and beat well. Add the chopped dried cherries and continue mixing until the mixture comes together to form a ball. (Add a small amount of warm water or milk if it doesn’t!)

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Tip out of the bowl onto a floured surface and knead slightly to form a ball.

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Roll out to approximately 1cm thick.

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Cut into whatever shapes your biscuit cutter collection allows! I used a 2″/5cm fluted circular cutter. Place onto your baking sheet and bake until pale golden brown.

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I was expecting them to do be done after 8-10 minutes, but they weren’t quite cooked so in total they were about 12-14 minutes in the oven.

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Remove and leave to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (or snaffle whilst still warm!).

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If you wish, you can ice them with water icing, or perhaps scattering with caster sugar when fresh out of the oven. Either way, enjoy with a cup of tea – or perhaps in the middle of the night when sleep proves elusive!

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