Cook The Books: Little White Horse and Moon Princess Biscuits/ Μπισκότα Βουτύρου

butter cookies-1web

It is time for Cook the Books again and our lovely host Rachel of the Cripsy Cook has chosen the great children’s classic: Little White Horse by Elisabeth Goodge. Set in Victorian England it has that lovely romantic air to it. The heroine, Maria, is an orphan who travels together with her governess, Miss Heliotrope,  and Wiggins the dog, to her uncle’s estate in the West Country in order to live there after her father’s death. I always found there is something enchanted about the English countryside and Goudge’s descriptions of the area surrounding the castle truly capture that feeling. Maria will live an adventure full of surprises and in the process will discover important facts about herself and her family.

 

Food plays a very important role in the book. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, pic nics, are a vital ingredient to the story and are beautifully described. Most of the food is simple peasant dishes based on ingredients of quality such as fresh eggs, freshly baked bread, honey, pies, stews etc. It is exactly the food I love, rustic and yummy, yet substantial and wholesome.

Food also has another important role in the book: it expresses love and care. This is something we take for granted when we have our mothers to prepare for our meals, but Maria has never felt it before setting foot to the mansion. This aspect of food I personally find very important, because it nourishes body and soul. That is why I thought that the most touching part of the book is when Maria discovers those beautifully adorned cookies in her room in case she feels hungry between meals. She has never had anybody care about her in that way before and that single little gesture makes her feel instantly welcomed in an unfamiliar environment.

But when Maria started to explore the room she found that it was not without luxuries. Over the fireplace was a shelf and on it stood a blue wooden box filled with dainty biscuits with sugar flowers in them in case she would feel hungry between meals. “

I really didn’t know what type of biscuit to make, since my knowledge of Victorian cooking is not very good. I thought that it would be a plain but luscious biscuit and I finally settled with a yummy butter biscuit scented with vanilla. I couldn’t make sugar flowers, but wanted the biscuits to have a girly feel to them, so I made them heart-shaped and covered them in a bright pink glaze. I am sure maria would appreciate them as much as my family did!

P.S. After publishing this post I realised with horror that Maria at this point in the book didn’t like pink that much! Oh well…. 🙂

——–

Με αφορμή το κλασικό παιδικό βιβλίο της  Elizabeth Goudge Little White Horse, έφτιαξα αυτά τα μπισκότα βουτύρου που νομίζω πως αρέσουν σε όλα τα παιδιά (και στους μεγάλους ιδιαίτερα) αφού μοσχοβολάνε βανίλια και…βούτυρο. Στην ουσία είναι αναλογίες όμοιες με μια βάση τάρτας. Γίνονται τραγανά, είναι εύκολα και σχετικά υγιεινά. Στο γλάσο χρησιμοποίησα γρεναδίνη που έχει λίγη χρωστική αλλά όχι πολλή. Μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε πολτό φράουλας ή και βυσσινάδα να τα θέλετε εντελώς φυσικά.

Moon Princess Biscuits

INGREDIENTS for approximately 1 kg of biscuits

  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 250g butter (unsalted), at room temperature
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 vanilla pod (the seeds only)
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Lightly beat the butter with the sugars and vanilla seeds.
  2. Mix in the egg, milk, pinch of salt and finally the flour until you get a pliable, soft dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes in a cool place (e.g. fridge).
  3. Roll out the dough in a 0.5 cm thickness sheet and then cut out your cookies. Using a thin spatula carefully transfer them on a baking tray lined with non- stick baking paper.You can also form the dough into a cylinder with 5cm diameter, cover it with cling film and let it in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden. It will be easier them to cut thin discs with the help of a very sharp knife.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160 oC and bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let them cool on a rack before storing them in an airtight container.
  5. If you want to decorate them with the icing you see in the picture mix 200g of icing sugar, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 4-5 tbsp of grenadine (depending on how deep you want the colour to be) and carefully add enough water to make a very thick, viscous paste. Spread the icing carefully on each cookie and let it set for approximately 20 minutes.

Μπισκότα Βουτύρου

ΥΛΙΚΑ για περίπου 1 κιλό μπισκότα

  • 500g αλεύρι για όλες τις χρήσεις
  • 250g βούτυρο σε θερμοκρασία δωματίου
  • 250g καστανή ζάχαρη
  • 60g απλή κρυσταλλική ζάχαρη
  • 1 αβγό
  • 2 κ.σ. γάλα
  • 1 λοβό βανίλιας (μόνο τα σπόρια)
  • 1 πρέζα αλάτι

ΕΚΤΕΛΕΣΗ

  1. Χτυπήστε το βούτυρο με τις ζάχαρες και τα σπόρια βανίλια για λίγο να αφρατέψει.
  2. Με το χέρη ανακατέψτε το αβγό, το γάλα, το αλάτι και στο τέλος το αλεύρι μέχρι να αποκτήσετε μια μαλακιά, εύπλαστη ζύμη. Αφήστε τη να ξεκουραστεί σε δροσερό μέρος για μισή ώρα.
  3. Ανοίχτε τη ζύμη σε πάχος 0,5 εκ. και κόψτε με τα ειδικά φορμάκια ό,τι σχήμα θέλετε. Μεταφέρετε τα κομμένα μπισκότα με προσοχή χρησιμοποιώντας μια σπάτουλα σε ταψί καλυμμένο με αντικολλητικό λαδόχαρτο.Για μεγαλύτερη ευκολία μπορείτε επίσης να σχηματίσετε έναν κύλινδρο διαμέτρου 5 εκατοστών,να τον καλύψετε με μεμβράνη και να τον βάλετε στο ψυγείο για 2 ώρες μέχρι να σκληρύνει. Έπειτα με ένα πολύ κοφτερό μαχαίρι χωρίς δόντια κόψτε μπισκότα στρογγυλά πάχους 0,5 εκ.
  4. Προθερμάνετε το φούρνο στους 160oC και ψήστε τα μπισκότα για 15-20 λεπτά μέχρι να πάρουν ένα ελαφρύ χρυσαφένιο χρώμα. Αφήστε τα να κρυώσουν πάνω σε σχάρα και φυλάξτε τα σε κουτί ή τάπερ που κλέινει καλα.
  5. Αν θέλετε να τα διακοσμήσετε όπως στη φωτογραφία ανακατέψτε 200γρ ζάχαρη άχνη με 2 κ.σ. χυμό λεμόνι, 4-5 κ.σ. γρεναδίνη (η ποσότητα εξαρτάται λίγο και από το πόσο έντονο ροζ θέλετε) και νεράκι με προσοχή μέχρι να πάρετε μια πηχτή αλλά ταυτόχρονα ρευστή πάστα. Απλώστε με ένα κουταλάκι πάνω στα μπισκότα και αφήστε τη να σταθεροποιηθεί.

16 comments

  1. unfortunately this i wasnt able to take part in the cook the books for this round (but i promise to take part in the next two rounds) due to various committments

    these moon princess cakes remind me very much of belgian biscuits, one of my favorite tea time treats when i was living in new zealand – i must make them again one day

  2. Great post, very perceptive comments on the book. I love your biscuits–they are just gorgeous and would be welcoming to anyone, making them feel cared for and loved! Maria and Wiggins both would have enjoyed them. 😉

  3. What’s important is that Maria learned to like pink at the end, and I think if she had had these cookies, she would have come to like the color much sooner! They look delicious.

  4. Beautiful biscuits! I am sure Maria would forgive you for the pink glaze. I can just imagine the sweet, buttery smell of vanilla in your kitchen! It is just the smell of love and home, isn’t it? Great choice!

  5. Your cookies are lovely…and she did change her mind a bit toward the end of the book! LOL! These look like they’d go perfectly with lemonade about now!

  6. Don’t panic about teh pink icing – you would have given Maria a new reason to start liking pink! Lovely and evocative post – the nurturing of food is such an important thing.

  7. I think my granddaughter (who loves pink) would have fun making these with me. Remember the final tea with all the pink flowers was partly in honor of reconciliation between Maria’s Uncle, who hated pink and Robin’s Mother, who loved pink. So, your color was very appropriate in symbolizing the banishing of hate.

    • Thank you all! You are right about the pink, she did come to accept it in the end, but it never became her favourite colour!

  8. Mou arese poly i syntagi sou kai tha ithela na ti dokimasw, alla exw mia aporia. Sta ylika anafereis 1 lovo vanillias kai les na xrisimopoiisoume mono ta sporia! Ti ennoeis me afto. Egw mexri twra sta glyka mou kai cakes exw xrisimopoiisei vanilia mono se morfi skonis tin opoia agorazw se mpoukalaki h’ fakellaki. Den exw ksanakousei ton oro ‘lovos vanilias’.
    Perimenw tin apantisi sou gia na mporesw na kanw ti syntagi sou.
    xxx

    • Η σκόνη βανίλιας είναι χημική και λέγεται βανιλίνη. Η βανίλια στη φυσική της μορφή προέρχεται από μια ορχιδέα και είναι ένας μακρόστενος λοβός, τον οποίο τον κόβουμε στη μέση και μετά με ένα μαχαίρι ή κουταλάκι αφαιρούμε τα σποράκια που έχει μέσα που είναι πολύ πολύ μικρά και μαύρα σαν χαβιάρι. Για να δεις πως είναι ο λοβός πήγαινε εδώ (πάνω στο γλυκό βλέπεις το λοβό). Λοβούς βανίλιας θα βρεις σε καλά μπαχαράδικα, σε κάποια σουπερμάρκετ και στην Ευριπίδου. Η γεύση της φυσικής βανίλιας είναι πολύ ανώτερη από τη χημική και θα έλεγα εντελώς διαφορετική, αλλά τελοσπάντων αν δεν μπορείς να βρεις βάλε 1/4 κουτ.γλυκού βανιλίνη.

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