I had some extra children at the weekend. Some fabulous little cousins had landed and when you have extra little hands you may as well take advantage of them.
There are two culinary tasks that children excel at. One is to mash bananas and the other is to shell peas. With the first of the pea crop crying out to be picked - they were duly packed off down the garden to gather and prepare some peas and new potatoes for our evening meal, and excited they were to do it.
A lot of people have that childhood memory of popping freshly shelled peas into their mouths and I would have had more peas for my tea if I had done the podding. But that would have robbed them of a fun-filled afternoon and that memory for themselves. And I did pay them... with rather nice bikkies fresh from the oven, for which they all thanked me with lovely manners and a gratifyingly empty plate.
This is a simple raisin and oat biscuit, moist, chewy, not too thin and not too thick. The little touches to this bake make all the difference. Soaking the raisins for an hour while letting the butter soften naturally, will give you a nicer biscuit. The raisins will not be overly dried out from the heat of the oven, as can happen easily in this style of cookie. I also like them just a tiny bit on the 'underdone' side, perfect with a glass of milk. Makes about 30 - 36 biscuits.
3 eggs, beaten
200 g raisins
5 ml vanilla extract
225 g butter
220 g brown sugar
200 g white sugar
310 g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
160 g rolled oats (porridge oats)
1. Combine eggs, vanilla and raisins in a small bowl; cover and let stand for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; stir into the creamed mixture. Then stir in the raisin mixture and rolled oats.
At this stage you can drop teaspoonfuls of the mix onto a greased cookie tray. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let set on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack.
Alternatively, If you like your biscuits picture perfect (and I do) roll the dough into logs, in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer for a while, then slice and baked on greased or parchment covered cookie sheets. Bake as many as you require from cold for about 15 mins, or until lightly browned. Leave for a few minutes to set before removing to a wire rack. Return any unused, sliced dough to the freezer and use at a later date.