Empire Biscuits (makes 14)

Empire Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

Empire biscuits are very popular in Britain, particularly in Scotland, but they actually originated in Germany and were known as ‘Linzer biscuits’ and ‘Deutsch biscuits’. After World War One, in Britain their name was changed to ‘Empire biscuits’ and that’s how they’ve stayed ever since. In Ireland instead of serving them topped with a glacé cherry they decorate theirs with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut, which I think sounds delicious!

Empire biscuits are a great low FODMAP biscuit option because their structure is comprised of  shortbread (which is really easy to make gluten-free and remains tasty) and the toppings are FODMAP friendly too, so you can’t go wrong with them really. Also, if a single halved glacé cherry would cause you issues then you could use the desiccated coconut option to decorate them instead.

I added a teaspoon of lemon extract to my biscuit dough because I think that the sharp, zingy lemon oil provides a delicious contrast with the sweet taste of the strawberry jam, but it’s entirely optional and if you choose to leave it out of your empire biscuits they won’t suffer in the taste department at all.

These low FODMAP empire biscuits are very easy to make and don’t require much time at all to produce, but they’re very rewarding in taste due to their crisp, sweet, buttery shortbread rounds that are generously sandwiched between good quality strawberry jam and topped with soft, sweet icing sugar. It’s no wonder they’re so popular throughout the country!

Ingredients for the biscuits:

100g cornflour

150g gluten-free flour

95g icing sugar

125g butter (or non-dairy alternative)

1 tsp lemon extract (optional)

2 tbsps cold water

To decorate:

Strawberry jam

100g icing sugar

7 halved glacé cherries (or desiccated coconut)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and have a rolling pin and a round biscuit cutter at hand.

Place all of the biscuit ingredients (except the water) in a mixing bowl and rub the ingredients together until it has the texture of fine sand.

Add the water and form a smooth dough.

Roll the biscuit dough out on a clean work surface and cut out an even number of biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a greaseproofed baking tray and bake them in the oven for 12-15 mins or until they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Put your icing sugar in a small bowl and add a little water at a time to make a thick icing for decorating your biscuits.

Once the biscuits are cool, spread strawberry jam onto half of the biscuits and coat the other half of the biscuits in icing sugar and top them with either a glacé cherry or a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

Once the icing has set, sandwich the biscuits together and serve.

Empire Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

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Langues de Chat Biscuits

Langues de Chat Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

A few weeks ago I was having a leisurely mooch in TK Maxx’s kitchen and homeware department when I came across this interesting baking tray that was priced at £1. I couldn’t resist that bargain because I could think of a number of uses for it, so I bought it and brought it home.

A Langues de Chat Baking Tray

I didn’t know what the baking tray was intended for, but I’m a member of a great Facebook group called The Cook’s Community Forum so I posted a photo of the baking tray up in the group and asked if anyone knew what its true purpose was. I couldn’t believe the number of responses it got, with over 90 people chiming in with their opinions! Quite a few said it was for baking eclairs, but the vast majority (most of whom tended to be professional chefs) said it was for making French Langues de Chat biscuits, aka Cat’s Tongue biscuits.

Although the name might not sound particularly appetising let me firmly assure you that the biscuits themselves most certainly are! Langues de chat biscuits are soft egg and butter based bakes that fall somewhere in the middle between a sponge and a biscuit. They’re very light and go wonderfully with a cuppa.

Langues de chat biscuits take no time at all to make and they bake very fast too, so they’re ideal for creating in a hurry. You might not want to go to the expense of buying a Langues de Chat biscuit mould (you could use any shaped baking tray you fancied really), but I’d really recommend it because it ensures that your bakes come out in the perfect shape. You could also dip each end in melted chocolate if you would like to make them fancier, but whether you serve them plain or decorated, they’re a delicious treat.

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter

250g sugar

8 egg whites

350g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/170°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and flour your Langues de Chat mould.

Measure your butter, sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl and, using an electric whisk, cream it together until it is pale and fluffy.

Add the flour and mix again.

Whisk your egg whites in a jug until they are firm and then fold the egg whites into the biscuit mixture.

Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe the mixture into your moulds. (I use disposable piping bags and it makes life a lot easier!) If you’re just using a baking tray, line it with greaseproof paper or a silicone mat and pipe 7cm strips of the biscuit mixture onto the tray, leaving a generous gap between each because they will spread.

Bake the langues de chat in the oven for about 10 mins or until the biscuits are just lightly golden brown. Leave to cool and then serve.

Langues de Chat Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

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American Pancakes

American Pancakes by The Fat Foodie

Sometimes on a Sunday morning it’s nice to push the boat out and make something for breakfast that’s a bit more time consuming than usual, but well worth it in terms of taste. For me, American pancakes fall into that category. I could eat pancakes any time of the day, any day of the week, but they are a bit of a faff-on to make from scratch because of the time it takes to cook them. However, these American pancakes take no time at all thanks to being able to chuck all of the ingredients into a jug and whisk them together before simply frying them.

I made my American pancakes with brown gluten-free flour and they turned out really well, with none of the dryness that so often accompanies that type of flour. The pancakes came out of the frying pan nice and fluffy and bouncy, just as you’d expect from an American pancake made with normal wheat flour.

Due to the fact that it was Sunday I felt it was essential to serve these pancakes with crisp rashers of bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup, but I also chopped up some ripe fruit and served it on the side. It’s all about balance, right?  😉

If you fancy making yourself a treat for breakfast I’d highly recommend these American pancakes. You can serve them however you like, the chopped fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt was a delicious option, but my favourite topping was the smoked bacon rashers which were crisped up under the grill and then perched atop my pancake stack and were liberally coated in real Canadian maple syrup. It’s heaven on a plate really.

Ingredients:

200g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)

1 tsp baking powder

40g sugar

2 eggs

150ml rice milk

Butter or vegetable oil (for frying the pancakes)

Method:

Put all of your ingredients into a jug and use an electric whisk (or some serious elbow grease) to mix it all together. Leave the mix to rest for 10 mins.

Put your pancake pan or frying pan on a medium heat and add a tsp of butter or a dash of oil and let it heat up.

Once it’s hot, add 3-4 tbsps of pancake mixture into the centre of your pancake pan or frying pan and let it cook. Once a lot of bubbles have begun to appear on the top of your pancake you can gently flip it over to cook the other side.

Cook your pancakes until they are golden brown and then remove them from the pancake pan or frying pan and keep them warm in the oven until you’ve finished booking the whole batch.

Serve with crispy bacon, maple syrup, fruit, yogurt etc.

American Pancakes by The Fat Foodie

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Coconut Pyramids (makes 12)

Coconut Pyramids by The Fat Foodie

I was in the Brownies when I was a kid and one of my favourite activities was when we did some baking. Although we had our pack meetings in the local cavernous, cold village hall we did our baking at our Brown Owl’s house which was terribly convenient for me because the Brown Owl in question happened to be my Mum.

One of the recipes she used to make with us was coconut pyramids, a really easy bake which produces lovely little sweet pyramids of toasted coconut that were guaranteed to stick in your teeth and have your tongue probing for wayward pieces of desiccated coconut for hours. Good times indeed.

These coconut pyramids are a great option for those who are looking to make a low FODMAP sweetie because as long as you treat one pyramid as a single serving they remain low FODMAP. I won’t be held responsible if you can’t resist indulging in more than one, but I wouldn’t blame you.

You can serve these coconut pyramids simply as they are, but I like them with a coating of dark chocolate. I intended to top my coconut pyramids with a dark chocolate capstone, but I got carried away with the application of chocolate and ended up making them fully encased in chocolate instead, with an edible gold glitter capstone. I regret nothing.

Ingredients:

200g desiccated coconut

150g sugar

3 eggs

100g dark chocolate

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Lay greaseproof paper out onto a large baking tray.

Crack your eggs into a jug and using an electric whisk, whisk until they are fluffy.

Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture turns pale. (This is caused by the sugar partially dissolving which helps prevent the coconut pyramids from being granular.)

Add the coconut and mix together.

Take small handfuls of mixture and form them into little pyramids before placing them on the greaseproofed baking tray.

Once you’ve formed all of your pyramids bake them for 12-15 mins or until they are golden brown.

Leave to cool and then melt your dark chocolate and coat the pyramids. Leave until the chocolate has set before eating.

Coconut Pyramids by The Fat Foodie

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Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau by The Fat Foodie

I have to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of black forest gateau. I think it’s because it seems like such a 1980’s dessert. I’ve never liked dairy cream either, so the thought of eating a cake that’s so heavily dosed with thick whipped cream has never really floated my boat. However, I am a fan of chocolate and fresh cherries. Very much so indeed! So when my Mum gave me a punnet of perfectly ripe fresh cherries that needed to be used up I figured I’d have a bash at making a version of black forest gateau that I could actually enjoy.

Now according to the Monash app, a serving of 3 cherries (21g) is a yellow traffic light for fructose. A serving higher than 3 cherries (42g) becomes a red for fructose and a yellow for polyols, so if those are categories which cause you issues I’d exercise caution with the quantity of fresh cherries and cherry jam you use. However, if you’re fine with these categories it’s full steam ahead!

I used my standard sweet potato based chocolate sponge for this black forest gateau because it makes a gorgeous, moist, rich cake which works really well with the sweet ripe cherries and the whipped cream. I think the advent of a number of non-dairy creams that are now available on the market has really expanded my appreciation of creamy things, such as stroganoffs. Whereas once I would have given them a wide berth, now I’m willing to try making them myself and it’s really opening my eyes to a lot of recipes. The cream for this black forest gateau is simply made from coconut cream that’s been mixed with icing sugar, but if you don’t have a problem with dairy you could just use whipped double cream.

This black forest gateau is really easy to make and rewards you with beautifully moist chocolate sponge layers which are thinly spread with cherry jam, wrapped in a duvet of whipped cream, topped with fresh, ripe cherry halves and finished with a generous dusting of grated dark chocolate. It’s no wonder really, that in the all-encompassing cake world it’s considered an immortal.

Ingredients:

420g raw sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into small pieces)

150ml vegetable oil

50g cocoa

100g gluten-free flour

200g brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

140ml rice milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate:

170g black cherries (halved and pitted)

100g cherry jam (optional)

Non-dairy cream (I used the coconut cream from a really good quality tin of coconut milk and mixed it with 3 tbsps of icing sugar)

Grated dark chocolate

Method:

Put a tin of coconut milk in the fridge to cool.

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Line two 9″ cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Peel your sweet potato and cut them into small cubes (about 2cm square). Place on a plate and cook on high in the microwave until the sweet potato is soft. Leave to cool down a bit.

Make your coconut cream by opening the tin of chilled coconut milk, pouring out the coconut milk and putting the solidified coconut cream in a bowl. Mix 3 tbsps of icing sugar into the coconut cream.

Keeping the decorative jam, cherries and coconut cream aside, put all of the cake ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Once the mixture is fully combined, spoon into the cake tins (making sure there’s an equal amount in each) and bake in the oven for 40-50 mins (or until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cakes comes out clean).

Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before topping one of the cakes with jam, coconut cream and a third of the cherries. Lay the second cake on top and coat it with jam, the rest of the cream and the rest of the cherries before scattering with icing sugar and the grated dark chocolate. Serve.

Black Forest Gateaux by The Fat Foodie

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