Last week I’ve baked 10 types of biscuits and a sweet loaf for my husband. That means I’ve baked 181 biscuits in five hours and a half, prep time and washing up included. It was a surprise for a celebration he had. It was something I’ve thought about for a while and that proved to be very good, as everything went smoothly, considering the amount of baking I did. Today I’m going to share what I’ve baked and some tips, if you want to try baking on this scale. As the main idea was to have diversity, I’ve made small quantities. I think it would have taken 30 minutes to an hour more to make the original recipes, and not half or even a fourth. The funny part is that I’m not sure if I pronounce the names of the biscuits correctly for many of them. As you’ll see, there is an array of International biscuits.
These are all the biscuits I’ve baked. At the end of the post you’ll see the bags I’ve used for display. When I saw them like that I wasn’t sure if I should put them in bags. But, having them in bags meant there was the excitement of discovery. I froze some of these 181 biscuits because they were too many.
First of all, let’s talk about the preparation. I’ve decided on what recipes I want to make and I made a list with them. I made sure that I had all the ingredients, so I don’t have to improvise on the day. Four recipes were new and I wouldn’t recommend doing that. But I knew the recipes will work, so I took a chance. It proved to be a good idea, as all the new biscuits were delicious.
In my Excel worksheet I’ve made a table with the biscuits, baking time, and temperature. I’ve also mentioned if they are made with oil or butter. This was very helpful, as I’ve started with biscuits that take long to bake, at a low temperature. While the biscuits were in the oven, I had plenty of time to start on the next couple of recipes. Between making the dough, shaping, and baking biscuits, I had to keep in mind the times for the Cozonac, the sweet loaf filled with Turkish delight and walnuts that my husband likes.
Shakarshee, Armenian walnut biscuits, and Kaak Warka, Tunisian marzipan biscuits. For both I’ve shared the recipes on CookStyle. My husband loves nuts, as you can imagine reading this post, and Shakarshee were biscuits we both loved. I tried the recipe at the beginning of August and made it now again because they are so good. The little pillows are Kaak Warka. Since trying the recipe last month, I’ve made it again, before now. The original recipe asks for a different shape, like a doughnut, but that takes a bit of time to make. Also, I’ve made half of dough, but wanted to get 10 biscuits regardless.
I’ve started with the Tunisian ones, as they take 30 to 40 minutes to bake at 120C in the fan assisted oven. The second recipe was the Shakarshee.
Kleeb lamduan are flower biscuits from Thailand. They are made with only 4 ingredients and they are vegan. The flavour is given by the rose water and they are delightful. I will make these again.
It was a bit complicated to shape them, but I followed the instructions and all turned out to be as they should. My husband liked them a lot. Next time I might use a bit of colour for the centre of the flower.
Kolche ab-e-dandaan is another new recipe I’ve tried. They are from Afghanistan. The translation from Arabic is “melt in the mouth”. It is another vegan recipe, as it is made with oil. The texture of the dough was strange and I had reservations before baking. Doing my research proved to be great, as they did turn out great. When I’m trying new recipes I try to find at least a couple to compare, so I know it is correct.
Chocolate Cookies and Jugu biscotti. The chocolate cookies were a recipe I’ve made after I looked at a few cookie recipes. I’ve added peanut butter, cocoa, and white chocolate. I liked them a lot. My husband would have preferred them a bit sweeter though. Next time I’m going to make white cookies with milk chocolate in them and it would be more to his liking.
The Jugu are from Tanzania, the last new recipe I’ve tried. They are similar to the Italian biscotti, as they are twice baked. These were biscuits that were great to make on the day. I kept them for 40 minutes for the first bake. Took them out to cool down and baked the chocolate cookies that only needed 10 minutes in the oven. After that I cut the biscuits and baked them for another 14 minutes, flipping them after 6 minutes.
Having biscuits baking in the oven the whole time was important. Not only because I didn’t want to waste energy running an empty oven, but I wanted to make them as fast as possible.
The next four biscuits had the same basic dough. After making the dough, I’ve divided it in 4, added the flavouring, covered them with cling film and put it in the fridge to harden a bit.
Cherries Biscuits are similar to the Grape biscuits I’ve shared recently. The dough was made with golden syrup, so it had a neutral taste. After I’ve divided the dough, in this batch I’ve added the dried cherries and some cherry flavouring. I’ve used a medium size cookie cutter.
Bubblegum Biscuits and Pistachio Biscuits. I planned to make some small biscuits. Having the same basic recipe meant I could play with the sizes a bit. For the bubblegum flavoured biscuits I’ve used a “funny cutter”, not sure if I would class it as hilarious, but it was a bit different for biscuits. When I was rolling the dough I though I could have added some food colouring. It was too late, but I know next time.
In the pistachio biscuits I’ve added pistachio flavouring and a nut on top. They are crunchy and a bit different than the cherries and the vanilla ones. All four biscuits were baked at the same temperature and for the same amount of time, so the small ones were a bit different.
Vanilla Biscuits with dark chocolate. The only addition to the dough was some vanilla paste. I’ve made only 6 big biscuits. When they were cold, I’ve melted 20g of dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzled on top, before putting them in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Cozonac, the Romanian sweet loaf my husband loves. I’ve made my standard recipe, with two types of dough, white and cocoa. On CookStyle you can find a couple of recipes for it. The cozonac has a swirl when cut and the pieces of Turkish delight and walnuts are in that dark dough swirl. Being a rich yeast-ed dough, it meant the cozonac was one of the lasts in the oven, needing time to rise before that. I always prove the cozonac twice, once before it is made into a loaf, and the second one after the loaf is put in the baking tin.
Now, the labels for the 181 biscuits and the green paper bags. I got the bags from eBay and I was anxious my husband will realize what I plan to do and told him not to look at the order history. As I hardly buy anything from eBay, these bags were my first purchase this year, we are sharing an eBay account. My husband thought it was hilarious that I believed he will realize, by seeing the order of bags, that I will bake 10 types of biscuits for him, only for him, without having a party or anything. When he putted it like that, I had to agree, it was hilarious.
All the 181 biscuits, put in the bags, and ready for the surprise.
This is what my husband saw when he got home from work. A surprise he loved. I froze biscuits and more than half of the cozonac. I asked in a Facebook baking group if I can successfully freeze biscuits and Charlotte shared her post with me, about freezing baked biscuits. I will use her tips at the end of the week.
You’d imagine that, after baking 181 biscuits, I wouldn’t think of the next bake. But I do, as this week we are celebrating the 4th anniversary of when we bought our home. Last year I’ve talked about how much I love owning my home. Of course, now I’m considering doing house shaped biscuits.