I used to do quite a bit of baking when I was a kid – I never called it “baking”, only “making”, as in “I’m making a cake” and “I’m making biscuits” etc. It wasn’t until I got to Canada that everyone talked about baking all the time. I see the difference, baking vs. cooking, but I still think of baking as primarily making bread. But what can you call it otherwise, “patissering”? Snort. So, baking it is. I do cook, but making – sorry, baking biscuits and cakes and slices is so much more interesting for me, and more fun to share.
There are some biscuits and slices I used to make a lot years ago, as a kid and a teenager, that I haven’t made since. On Saturday, I decided to make one of them: Monte Carlos. I didn’t have the recipe I used back then, but I did have one in one of my trusty baking cookbooks, and it looked pretty much the same, as far as I could remember. Certainly tasted the same! Anyone in Australia will recognise these delectable, dessert-like biscuits, but outside of our country, maybe not. (I will have to share a lamington recipe with you one day…)
MONTE CARLO BISCUITS
from The Essential Baking Cookbook, Murdoch Books Australia
125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (125g) caster sugar*
3 Tb milk
1 1/2 cups (185g) self-raising flour**
1/4 cup custard powder
1/3 cup desiccated coconut***
75g unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp milk
Jam of your choice (I always use raspberry – nothing beats good quality raspberry jam!)
Preheat the oven to moderate (180ºC/350ºF) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the milk and beat until combined.
Sift the flour and custard powder and add to the bowl with the coconut. Mix to form a soft dough.
Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and arrange on the tray. With the back of a fork, flatten into fat disks. Allow room for spreading.
Bake for 15-20 mins or until just golden. (I put mine in for 10 mins and they were perfectly done, if a little dark on the bottoms.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
For the filling, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the milk to make a thick, white filling. You might find you need to add more sugar to get the right consistency.
Spread filling generously on half the biscuits, and spread jam on the other half. Sandwich together lightly but do not press, or everything will ooze out.
* Caster sugar is a superfine white sugar. In Canada I use “special fine granulated sugar”, which I think is more-or-less the same thing.
** If you don’t have self-raising flour handy, simply use plain flour and add baking powder, 1 teaspoon for every cup of flour. It doesn’t have to be exact.
*** Desiccated coconut is often called “fine sweetened coconut” in Canada, if you’re having trouble finding it.
NOTE: As usual, I use the abbreviations “Tb” for tablespoon and “tsp” for teaspoon.
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