We're back from our final fling of the summer in Tuscany and appear to have left the sunshine behind us! There are only two days left until the boys go back to school. Wow, where did nine weeks go? It's been a whirlwind of going away, entertaining the boys and having lots of visitors as well as a very important fifth birthday for my youngest. I've baked many of my favourite recipes time and again, recipes I've discovered through this blog. And when my gluten-free niece came visiting from New Zealand, I didn't bat an eyelid at baking some special cakes and puds for her when a year ago the idea of gluten free baking would have sent me into a spin!
I have a stack of recipes I'm looking forward to trying when a little more of the day is my own again but for today, the weather is grey and gloomy so we're having our last lazy day of the summer hols and the boys wanted to turn their hands to baking something yummy. It had to be something whose ingredients are store cupboard essentials as we haven't been near a supermarket since our return from sunnier climes.
We decided upon Monte Carlo Biscuits. These Australian classic biscuits are sweet and filled with jam and buttercream and have been made by Arnott's Biscuits since 1926. I must confess I have never had one before. I saw a version of the recipe on the Australian Good Food website and Frank Camorra's comment on there made me smile: "I remember the first time I saw a Monte Carlo, I couldn't believe how big it was". Having made them today, I can completely relate to that. They are enormous.
I love coconut so for me, this is my favorite part of the cookie but the addition of golden syrup (or you could use honey) also makes them lovely and chewy too. As I said before, they are enormous and I would definitely make something a little daintier next time - I mean, my youngest struggled to get it in his mouth for a bite! There are a lot of recipes available for these biscuits, very similar in ingredients and method. Not having tasted one of these before, I opted for Donna Hay's vanilla buttercream filling which is pretty sweet and has a higher butter content than most of the other recipes - and is exceptionally yummy :)
As the finished biscuits are 7cm in diameter, next time I would divide the dough in half again and make 20 sandwiched biscuits. But these biscuits are gorgeous. I can see why they're such a favourite down under.
Not sure they'll be hanging around for long in this house. Especially when my antipodean hubby spots them ;-)
Monte Carlo Biscuits Makes 10 biscuits sandwiched together (adapted from Donna Hay and Modern Australia | Good Food)
- 125G UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED
- 160G LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
- 2 TBSP GOLDEN SYRUP (or you could use honey here as an alternative)
- 1 EGG
- 300G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 50G DESSICATED COCONUT
- 70G STRAWBERRY JAM (or you could use raspberry jam)
- 160G UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED
- 200G ICING SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper
- Beat together the butter, sugar and golden syrup until light and creamy - this should take 2-3 minutes
- Add the egg and mix it until just combined
- Sift the flour over the dough and add the coconut, then mix together until they're combined
- Divide the mixture into 20 balls (around 35g per ball) and place them on the prepared trays ensuring enough space for them to spread
- Bake for 12 minutes until they're golden brown
- Leave them to cool on their trays for 5 mins and then transfer them to a cooling rack until they're cool
- Make the buttercream by placing the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract in the mixing bowl and beating the buttercream for around 5 mins until smooth and creamy
- Either spread or pipe a dollop of buttercream on half of the cooled biscuits
- Add jam on top of the buttercream and then sandwich the biscuits together using one of the halves without cream or jam
- Enjoy :)