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  • Writer's pictureAmy Minichiello

Fruit & Spice Easter Biscuits




I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that we are in Autumn 2024. Time is moving at a rapid pace and all I want to do is will it so slow down. I am bottling up all those moments with Beau and Vivvy, as I know it will pass by within a flash of the camera.


I had my school reunion last month. 20 years! It feels like it was only yesterday that we were gathering at someone's house, getting older friends to buy us our alcoholic beverages of choice, and leading a carefree lifestyle. A recurring topic among conversations was that we all wanted to spend as much time with our kids as possible. I recently listened to the fabulous podcast, How Other Dad's Dad, hosted by Hamish Blake where Scott Cam of the TV show, The Block was interviewed. It was such an honest, heartfelt conversation between the two that revealed many golden nuggets. The one that struck me however and left my skin prickling with dozens of goosebumps was this, "I want to be there when my kids look up." Scott Cam was referring to being there for his kids during sporting events. I, myself want to be there when my children do a forward roll at gymnastics; learn a new riff on the guitar; Land a jump they have been practicing on their bike; or simply hop on one leg, among many other things.


So, as the seasons transition, The light becomes softer, and the evenings cooler. Sweet peas, poppies, and brassicas all cry out, "sow me now!" Let us all slow down over the coming Easter break, and perhaps in doing so, stand a while at your kitchen bench to create these lovely biscuits. Savouring the small moments of bliss in what will be a twist and a pull as one half detaches itself from the other in a moment shared with yourself, or your children, whatever their age, because we should never let a good opportunity to enjoy the sweet things in life disappear into the horizon, for they may not present themselves in that exact fleeting moment the following day.




 

Fruit & Spice Easter biscuits

Makes 20

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Lime sandwich cookies from her book, Cookie Perfection.


3 cups plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp Hot Cross Bun spice (from Gewurzhaus)

1 egg, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

395g tin of condensed milk

125ml espresso

85g unsalted butter, at room temperature

85g cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 tsp Hot Cross Bun spice

1/4 cup diced dried fruit (I used The Spectacular dried fruit mix from Singing Magpie Produce but you could just use a mixture of your favourites)


1/4 - 1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tsp cinnamon


In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with electric beaters) beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and 1 tbsp of water and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.


Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap in baking paper and rest in the fridge for at least an hour.


Preheat your oven to 160c fan-forced. Take one disc from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. You want it to feel pliable so that it will be easy to roll out. On a lightly floured surface roll out to 3mm thick. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut out rounds and transfer to two baking trays lined with baking paper, spacing about 2.5cm apart. You may need to use these trays again for the next batch, just make sure you cool them down before placing the next lot of rounds onto them.


Continue to cut out rounds with the remaining dough and repeat with the other disc. Using a sharp knife, cut out crosses, or you can always use a smaller cutter to cut out shapes from the center of half of the rounds. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are golden. You may need to rotate halfway through the baking time like I did, as my oven tends to bake unevenly. Allow the biscuits to rest for a couple of minutes before removing them from the trays onto cooling racks to cool completely.


In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat condensed milk, stirring frequently, until bubbling. Continue to cook, stirring all the while until it becomes thick and golden. Don't worry too much if it catches on the bottom of the pan. This should take about 5 minutes.


Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and stir through the coffee. Cover the surface with a sheet of baking paper and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 85g of butter with the cream cheese until smooth, add the condensed milk mixture in a steady stream and beat until fluffy. stir through the spice and dried fruit.


Spread filling onto the base of a whole biscuit (about 2 tsp worth) before placing one of the cut-out biscuits on top to form a sandwich of sweetness. If you would like to dust the cut-out biscuits with icing sugar. Sift icing sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl and then dust over the tops of the biscuits with the same sieve before placing them on top of the filling.


Store in an airtight container in the fridge with baking paper separating the layers. They will happily keep for 4 days.








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