Monday, 26 March 2012

Jumbles

 Recipe Number One Hundred & Seventy Five:  Page 254.

I wanted to bake something with my little boy so I set about searching for something suitable within the pages of my Baking Bible. I quickly came across the recipe for Jumbles in the Baking for Children section. The word jumbles isn't exactly descriptive and doesn't really offer any clues; I for one had never heard of them before! After reading through Mary's introduction it became clear that they were simple lemon flavoured biscuits which are usually shaped into 'S' shapes.

We made a start on the Jumbles in the morning. As I set out the bowl and the required ingredients I wondered if morning was in fact the best time. It is when Isaac is at his most active! I weighed out the ingredients while he admired his wellie boots which were standing by the back door. I required equal quantities of butter and sugar. It appeared to be quite a large amount. However, Mary says the mixture should make 32 jumbles so, as long as I stuck to just one or two, I should be alright! I collected the vanilla extract from the shelf and allowed a few drops to fall from the bottle and into the bowl. I believe a few extra drops may have inadvertently made their way into the bowl. I knew I should have had a cup of tea first to calm my shakes!!! Next I needed to add the zest of a lemon. My poor lemon had seen better days and felt decidedly squidgy. I think it was for the best that I only required the zest.

As I attempted to weigh the plain flour into the mixing bowl I found it increasingly difficult to concentrate; I hoped I'd weighed it correctly. Isaac was chattering nonstop and kindly brought me his wellies to admire before leaving them in the middle of the floor for me to trip over. He then performed several rousing renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!! Finally, he settled in one place long enough for me to show him what I was doing. He took a lively interest as I cracked the egg into the bowl. He always gets excited when he sees the egg drop from the shell! I quickly brought the mixture together with a blunt ended knife and then knelt on the floor with the bowl so that we could work the mixture together with our hands. He took great pleasure in locating lumps of dough, taking them from the bowl and giving them a good squidge. He put most of it back but I did draw the line at the bits that had been on the floor!!!

Now I had to make the dough into the traditional 'S' shape. My little helper started charging about the kitchen at this point, so in stepped my big helper. Neil quite enjoys this sort of thing and he happily twisted the dough into shapes. Together we made Isaac's name in rather lumpy dough. I was glad of the help, as it took a while to work through all the dough. Our little rascal saw his opportunity for mischief and raided a kitchen cupboard; he was soon running around with my loaf tin liners!!!

The three trays of jumbles had to go into the fridge for thirty minutes. This was not the easiest of tasks when you consider we had just had a large amount of food delivered!! I put the oven on to preheat and then went into the garden to enjoy the sunshine. It was so lovely and warm for a March day. I am a chilly mortal so it was a novelty to feel anything other than cold!!

It didn't take long for the thirty minutes to pass and it was time to take the trays from the fridge. I soon realised that only two trays were going to fit into the oven at one time. The cooking process was going to take longer than I had thought! The jumbles went into the oven for about fifteen minutes and then it was time to whip them out and turn up the oven. I speedily brushed them with clear honey then sprinkled over a generous amount of Demerara sugar. Back into the hot oven they went. Mary says to cook for a further two or three minutes until the sugar has caramelised. This never happened to my stubborn sugar. It didn't do anything! The hot biscuits transferred over to the wire rack with ease and there were no breakages – hooray!!

Once the jumbles were cool Neil and I were ready to sample the offerings. These biscuits were so scrummy! They were crisp but just slightly chewy; this might have been because mine were big and fat! The lemon flavour was much in evidence, while the sugary top gave an extra and welcome sweetness. We found ourselves repeatedly visiting the biscuit tin all afternoon. So much for sticking to just one or two! Isaac enjoyed eating one of the letters from his name; it was perfect for his little hands. I'm looking forward to when he is able to help me shape the dough into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes!
Isaac's yummy biscuits!


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