10 tips for making biscuits, small (mostly dry) cakes for beginners
Biscuits and small cakes are an inevitable part of the holiday table and special occasions. A jar of biscuits always has a place in the kitchen for other days of the year. Biscuits are rarely baked at home because it is believed that the preparation of these crunchy snacks is time-consuming (each biscuit needs to be specially shaped and decorated) and that it is impossible to achieve crispiness in homemade biscuits (because otherwise preservatives and additives are added for these purposes) and that is a healthy biscuit oxymoron (because a lot of sugar and fat is necessarily added to the mixture). However, these are biscuit myths that are not necessarily true.
Basic ingredients and tips for homemade biscuits
- Flour – flour is one of the key ingredients in making all desserts, including biscuits and small cakes. It is preferable to have flour with an eco-certificate (because the choice of type is extremely important for the success of the preparation). Wheat flour (that is, semi-white flour) can be used in larger proportions in recipes because it is stable (according to the ratio) and contains enough gluten for successful binding (which is important for people who do not use eggs in recipes). It is richer in vitamins, minerals and fiber than ordinary white flour. The role of whole wheat flour is to contribute to the lightness of desserts and to enrich it with a fuller taste than other types of flour (due to the presence of all components of the whole wheat grain). A common mistake of beginners is to replace all other flours in full quantity with wholemeal flour. This does not give a good result either in terms of appearance, texture or texture. Wholemeal flour is too heavy and makes the biscuits gooey and gives a “heavy” taste. Spelled flour (Dinkel, spelled or Triticum spelta) is a healthy alternative to other types of flour. It has a mild taste and contains large amounts of fiber, so dishes made from spelt flour are easy to digest. Spelled flour is not gluten-free, but it is suitable for people allergic to wheat.
- Sweetener – for compact and crispy biscuits, the best choice is solid sweeteners (demerar or muscovado sugar and coconut flower sugar). Ground birch sugar (xylitol) will keep the cookies light in color because other sugars are dark in color. Birch sugar has fewer calories than white sugar and has a low glycemic index. Liquid sweeteners are useful for achieving a softer and creamier texture and avoiding the crispiness of biscuits. Favorite liquid sweeteners are date syrup and rice malt. Agave syrup (agava nectar) has a strong and sweet taste. Agave syrup is an ideal substitute for honey due to its light color and thinner texture.
- Fat – fats have an important role in the preparation of biscuits, but it is preferable to use a smaller amount than usual. It is preferable to avoid types of oil that are highly refined and made from conventionally grown foods. Oil specifically made for heat treatment is sunflower oil for frying and baking (high-oleic), i.e. oil with a high content of oleic acid. This is a stable oil with a neutral taste, which is important for making biscuits. Virgin coconut oil has a pleasant coconut scent that is not overpowering (that’s why this oil is great for making biscuits). Refined coconut oil can also be used. Non-hydrogenated biomargarine has a specific creaminess and similarity to butter. It can also be used as a substitute for butter.
- All types of plant milk can be used – all types of plant milk (soy, oat, rice, almond, coconut) or regular milk can be used to prepare biscuits and biscuits. It is desirable that the oxu milk matches the ingredients of the recipe. For example, for biscuits with hazelnuts, neutral vegetable milk or regular milk will be more suitable than rice milk, which has a certain flavor.
- A small amount of baking powder without aluminum (or baking soda) is enough to “raise” the dough. Thickeners (corn starch or aru powder) can be used in smaller quantities as an additional binding ingredient (especially in delicate egg-free mixtures because such mixtures will fall apart after baking, for example gluten-free mixtures).
- If the biscuits are dry and hard, they have probably been in the oven for too long. Next time, measure the time carefully and check the condition and color of the biscuits often (every oven bakes differently). Maybe you forgot to add the leavening agent or there were too many dry ingredients in the dough.
- Biscuits are flabby and they should be crunchy – the cause may be the substitution of solid sweetener for liquid sweetener in the desire to make the biscuits healthier. The taste will be good, but the biscuits will lose their crunchiness. Another possible cause is too low a baking temperature or a short baking time.
- If biscuits and biscuits regularly have a sticky texture, then they are probably not baked long enough or the liquid ingredients are measured inaccurately. Too much milk or liquid sweetener will turn the cookies into a sticky mixture when chewed.
- Ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, sesame, cashews) are an excellent addition to mixtures for all types of biscuits and biscuits (due to their higher fat content and rich taste).
- Extracts are also excellent additions (rum, orange, vanilla, etc.) because they complement the existing taste of biscuits and dry cakes.