The childish delight of an iced biscuit
When I look back at my childhood I think about barbecues (sometimes in the rain) where myself and my sister would be responsible for slicing the hotdog and burger buns and putting them in a big plastic bag that people could help themselves to. My dad would be barbecuing under the shelter of the garage door and my mum would be making salads and deserts. The utility room would be full to bursting with delightful food.
I think about packed lunches on school trips to Drayton Manor Park & Zoo (cheese & cucumber sandwich, apple, penguin biscuit and a packet of monster munch in a tupperware box with road signs on the back). I'd think about roast dinners on a Sunday after Sunday School and the time my dad invited a foreign lorry driver back for lunch (he was waiting for a local factory to open on the Monday morning) and the chap couldn't get over the deliciousness of my mum's gravy.
I think about the time me and my best mate would take our tea and make a picnic in the park after school. I'd think about the time another mate stuck her finger into my mum's trifle (she didn't get invited back) and drinking pints of orange squash on hot summery days.
My dad had an allotment and grew his own tomatoes and cucumbers. He'd bring back rhubarb which we'd dip into sugar, potatoes, carrots, leeks and some summery fruit which I wasn't as keen on. Mum used to make a summer pudding with it.
We made our own lollies using lolly moulds that we would suck until all the blackcurrant juice had come out leaving behind pure ice. Then the time my parents discovered Delia Smith and we'd have new potatoes with lemon and grainy mustard or roasted vegetables with garlic, olive oil and basil.
Yes, my childhood revolved around food.
Making it, baking it, eating it, sharing it. Swapping recipes with friends and family, experimenting with different inventions as they came out in the shops. (We discovered aerosol cream was not as long-lasting on the fruit flan as proper whipped cream).
And during this delicious childhood I'd be in the kitchen baking with my mum or left to my own devices. From her be-ro recipe book I'd make some little iced biscuits. When my mum sent off for a be-ro book of my very own for my university days the recipe wasn't in. I was horrified. But thankfully she lent me her version, so I've managed to recreate the recipe of iced biscuits from my childhood. (If you've got an old version of the book they're called 'crunchies'.)
They're now a firm favourite with my own children and husband. I love that recipes can last the test of time (although it has been adapted slightly with the years).
Recipe for oaty iced biscuits
- 8oz/225g butter
- 6oz/170g caster sugar
- 1 tsp golden syrup
- 4 tsp boiling water
- few drops vanilla extract
- 8oz/225g self raising flour
- 4oz/115g oats
- 200g icing sugar mixed into a stiff paste
- hundreds and thousands or glace cherries
- Pre-heat oven to 150 fan.
- Cream the butter with the sugar.
- Add the syrup, water and vanilla.
- Stir in the flour and the oats and bring it together into a ball.
- Remove from the mixing bowl and cut the ball into eight (see video below).
- Roll each eighth into another ball and cut into quarters.
- Roll each quarter into a ball and place onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment.
- Place in the oven for ten minutes until slightly browned.
- Allow to cool (they'll set as they cool) then add a blob of icing or leave plain.