Raspberry swirl pinwheel biscuits

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These biscuits are a shortbread recipe with extra ground almonds. This makes the biscuits a little sticker and softer so that the swirl stays together slightly better. Plus I usually replace a little of the flour in shortbread with ground almonds anyway, as I think it improves the recipe.

The raspberry swirl has some ground, freeze-dried raspberries replacing the plain flour. You may be able to get hold of either pieces of raspberry or better still powdered raspberry – I’ve listed two UK suppliers in the Notes section. The colour is quite delicate after baking so you may want to add a little food colouring if you’re after a livelier-looking biscuit! I’d recommend a gel food colouring as the normal liquid will change the consistency of the raspberry dough.

[Additional note July 2015] I did come across some natural raspberry food flavouring which I used a few drops of when I re-made these biscuits recently. I never like to use much concentrated flavourings, preferring to use more of the original ingredient to boost flavour (such as extra lemon zest etc), but I thought I try. I think it did enhance the flavour but it’s difficult to comment properly without two biscuits to taste side by side. I certainly wouldn’t recommend using a lot as even the natural-style flavourings do start to taste artificial in high amounts in baking. I’d recommend using them to enhance, not to flavour completely.

Notes

I’ve bought freeze-dried fruit online in the UK from the following two places, but I bet there’s more available:
Freeze dried raspberries available from Real Foods UK
Freeze dried raspberry powder available from Healthy Supplies

Equipment

A couple of good baking trays, lined with parchment or silicon mats
Pestle and mortar/spice mill/food processor

Ingredients – for the plain shortbread

  • unsalted butter, slightly softened – 110g
  • caster sugar – 50g
  • plain flour – 125g
  • ground almonds – 50g

Ingredients – for the raspberry shortbread

  • unsalted butter, slightly softened – 110g
  • caster sugar – 50g
  • plain flour – 115g
  • ground almonds – 50g
  • freeze-dried raspberries/raspberry powder – 10g
  • red food colouring – optional
  • additional raspberry flavouring – optional

Method

  1. Line the baking trays or cover with a silicon mat.
  2. If you only have raspberry pieces you will need to grind them to a powder in a pestle and mortar, a spice mill or food processor.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients for the plain shortbread together in one bowl. Make sure it’s fully incorporated but don’t overwork it.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients for the raspberry shortbread together in one bowl (including the optional colouring and flavourings if using). Make sure it’s all fully incorporated but don’t overwork it.
  5. You now need to roll out each ball of dough into two rectangles of the same size and to about 4mm thickness. The easiest way to do this is to roll out one on a piece of parchment and move it to one side. Then roll out the other and proffer up the first one to compare width and length.
  6. You need to also try to ensure the sides are as straight as possible and the corners are near-as-dammit 90 degrees. I know this sounds very faffy but if you don’t the pinwheel effect won’t be so nice. I used a long palette knife to pat the edges into shape.
  7. Once you’re satisfied with how the two rectangles look, you need to lay one on top of the other – it doesn’t matter which one is on top. When you do this, you should overlap the two so that the long edge is slightly offset on each side  by about 5 mm – this is so that you get a smoother circle when you roll (if you put them exactly on top of one another you’ll get a big lip on the biscuit). See the image right.
  • Using the long edge, roll the biscuit tightly at first and carry on rolling. The dough may rip a bit but just squeeze it together to patch it up.
  • When you’ve rolled it all, tamp down the long edge a little to smooth our the cylinder shape.
  • Make sure the cylinder is the same thickness all the way down (roll it back and forth a little) and carefully transfer to a spare plate or baking tray and pop in the fridge for 10 mins.
  • Heat the oven to 150C fan/170C conventional
  • Bring out the chilled, rolled dough and (using a very sharp knife) cut 4mm discs off the cylinder of dough.
  • Lay the discs on the prepared baking trays. They should bake without puffing up too much, so you only need to leave about 15mm space between each disc. You may need to pat them into a circle a little as cutting the discs out will flatten the dough at the bottom, skewing the shape.
  • Pop in the oven for 20 – 25 mins until they are just about to turn golden, but are cooked through
  • Cool thoroughly. They’ll keep for a few days in an airtight container.
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