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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Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable to incorporate into our diets. It’s a great source of fibre and is packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins K, C and A, along with B-Vitamins too and iron, potassium and calcium. It’s a great vegetable all round! So, when my Dad gave me another bunch of rhubarb stalks the other day I wasn’t going to refuse the gift and I decided that the best thing to do with them would be to make a jam.

Rhubarb is very low in pectin, the carbohydrate found in fruit which helps jam to set firm. You can buy jam sugar which is normal white sugar that has pectin added into it, but I didn’t have any so I needed to find a way to add pectin into my jam. However, the white pith of citrus fruits contains lots of pectin so I figured I’d use the rind of some satsumas I had in the fruit bowl. On reflection, I thought that I would be just as well using the whole fruit (waste not, want not!), so I blended 4 whole satsumas, along with the ginger, to a pulp in the Nutribullet and added them into my jam mix. (I checked them for pips first though!)

This rhubarb, orange and ginger jam is really easy to make, involving nothing more than preparing your ingredients and then letting it boil away on the stove top for about half an hour with the occasional stir. In return you’ll be rewarded with at least 5 jars of tart, but sweet, soft-set rhubarb and orange jam that’s infused with the warming spice of ginger throughout. I’m currently dolloping it on every slice of toast that comes across my path.

Ingredients:

1kg of chopped rhubarb stalks

80g fresh root ginger (finely minced)

1kg white sugar

100ml lemon juice

100ml water

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 whole satsumas (blended smooth)

Method:

Heat your oven to 140C/120C Fan/gas mark 1.

Sterilise your jars by washing them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then rinsing well. Put them on a baking sheet and place them in a hot oven until they have dried. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven.

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and add all of your liquid ingredients followed by your rhubarb, minced ginger and blended oranges.

Stir well and cook for around half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once you’re happy that the fruit has cooked, taking care because it’s very hot, pour the jam into your sterilised jam jars, cover the jam with a waxed disc and seal with the lid.

Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam 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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