In another installment of my baking tribute to my Mum & Nana, this blog is dedicated to one of my Mum's favourite biscuits, Melting Moments. These are two light, crumbly, vanilla biscuits sandwiched together with jam or a butter icing (or both!). And if you're wondering about the name, all I can say is that the biscuits really do melt in your mouth! Very tasty indeed...
Melting Moments are really easy to make & you can choose whether to sandwich them together with the traditional filling of raspberry jam or a vanilla butter icing (or both even!) or, like I have chosen today - a chocolate butter icing. I've also seen some other interesting flavour combinations like lemon & passion fruit, where you add one teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest to the biscuit mixture & mix some passion fruit pulp through the butter icing.
I'm quite partial to the traditional vanilla biscuit & always enjoy the balance between vanilla & chocolate so that's what I've gone with today. The recipe I have used is from the world famous (in New Zealand) Edmonds Cookery Book.
Ingredients for the biscuits (using tablespoonful amounts, the mixture makes around 36 biscuits... so 18 in total once you've sandwiched them together)
200g very soft unsalted butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Butter icing ingredients
For vanilla butter icing...
100g very soft unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups icing sugar
Small pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons hot water
For chocolate butter icing: Add two tablespoons of cocoa (sifted with the icing sugar).
What to do
- Preheat your oven to 180C static or 160C fan assisted.
- Prepare a couple of baking trays (depending on the size of your trays, you might end up needing one or two more. I ended up with 37 biscuits & spread them out at around 10 biscuits per baking tray to give them room to spread slightly as they baked. My baking trays are not particularly big). Spray a little cooking spray on the trays then line them with non-stick baking paper.
- Using a hand held or freestanding electric mixer, cream together the butter & icing sugar until light & fluffy. (I opted for my hand held mixer so I had to endure a brief haze of icing sugar around me...)
- Next thing to do is sift the flour, cornflour & baking powder into the creamed mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix everything together until you have a soft biscuit dough.
- Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls & place onto the oven tray. TIP: I used a measuring tablespoon which I flattened with a small palate knife to ensure that each biscuit was the same size. Ensure you leave around a 4cm gap between the biscuits to allow for spreading.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of flour into a cup & grab a fork. Coat the fork into some flour & then flatten each biscuit slightly. Keep dipping the fork in the flour before you flatten each biscuit to prevent the fork from sticking to the biscuit.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the biscuits have have browned slightly. My biscuits took around 17 minutes so keep a close eye on them towards the end of the 20 minutes.
- Remove biscuits from oven, allow to cool slightly before placing them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To ice the biscuits...
- Using a hand held or freestanding electric mixer, cream the butter until it is pale & fluffy. Add the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift the icing sugar, cocoa (if you are opting for chocolate) & salt (just a small pinch of salt - I find it balances the sweetness nicely) . Gradually add to the butter & beat well after each addition. Add in a tablespoon of hot water to help the icing come together & then after you have added in all of the dry ingredients, assess whether you need to add some more hot water. You want a fluffy, smooth consistency that you can easily pipe or spread. You don't want it to be runny or too thin at all - aim for something along the lines of the consistency of thick chocolate mousse...
- Spread a good amount of icing or pipe some icing onto one biscuit & then place another biscuit over the top pressing down gently.
- Leave the biscuits aside for at least 30 minutes to give the icing a chance to firm up a little before you eat them! Store in an airtight container.
Piping note: I found piping the icing was much quicker than spreading. I chose a Wilton no. 196 icing tip for something different but don't worry if you don't have one of those, just choose a tip that has an opening of around 1cm.
A few tips for piping if you've not done much before, once you've spooned some icing into your piping bag, hold the top of the bag with one hand & then run the fingers of your other hand down the bag so you push as much icing as you can down towards the bottom of the bag. You might have some air pockets in the bag at this stage so be sure to let the air out by squeezing the air pockets & allowing the air to escape through the top of the bag.
The other important thing to do is to twist the bag tightly around the icing & then hold the piping bag firmly at that point. Sit your piping nozzle straight up & down on the biscuit - not at an angle. Gently squeeze the piping bag until the icing has spread out to just under 1cm from the edge of the biscuit. Sandwich with another biscuit on the top.