Spelt shortbreads with streusel topping

SpeltBiccies2a

I love playing with different flours to change up the texture and quality of bakes that are traditionally made with wheat flour. Some flours will dramatically change the texture, crumb and consistency of a bake, but I’ve found spelt can be a direct replacement in my kitchen with very little change. The spelt flour looks slightly darker and heavier than white wheat flour, but this perception is slightly misleading.

What I’ve found is that spelt is thirstier than wheat; by that I mean it takes up more water in comparison to the same amount of white flour. This seems to be at odds with everything that I’ve read about spelt, suggesting it ought to be the opposite (that is, needs less liquid) – perhaps it’s the type of bakes that I’ve used it in. So, I’d just suggest that if you are converting recipes to spelt please bear in mind that the ratio of liquids to flour will need to be played around with to get it right, whether that’s more or less liquid.

Spelt may look heavy but it’s certainly not: it produces fluffy light bakes with a warmer, nuttier flavour and a slightly darker colour. I think it makes nice breads and is perfect for richer cakes like loaf cakes or traybakes but this is very personal – some people like spelt cakes but not bread or vice versa, or as I do just like it in anything.

It’s now very easy to get hold of spelt flours (white or wholegrain) now. I like the 100% British spelt from Craggs & Co, who are farmers based in the North East of England (this isn’t an advert, it’s just I love the quality of this flour). The spelt flakes I used in this recipe are also from here.

Notes

  • You can make these biscuits as normal rounds, but they are also nice as rings as I’ve done in some images
  • If you are making ring biscuits and don’t have a small cutter for the centre holes, a good hack is using the large end of a piping nozzle!
  • Makes about 20 – 24 (depending whether you cut out the holes or not)
  • You can get spelt flour in supermarkets, delis, health food shops and online easily
  • If you cannot get spelt flakes, then wheat or oat flakes can be substituted (but are less nutty and don’t match quite as well)

SpeltBiccies2b.jpg

Equipment

  • 2 large baking sheets, prepared with baking parchment or silicon sheets
  • Rolling pin
  • Palette knife
  • Large round cutter – about 6cm
  • Smaller cutter for the middle cut-out (something 1 – 2cm in diameter will do) if using
  • Large bowl and a small bowl
  • Pastry cutter (ideal but not necessary)

Ingredients – biscuits

  • Unsalted butter at room temperature – 170g
  • Caster sugar – 100g
  • White spelt flour – 250g
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 20ml
  • Extra flour for dusting

Ingredients – streusel

  • Spelt flakes (or malted wheat flakes) – 4 tablespoons
  • Chopped mixed nuts – 4 tablespoons
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Ground cinnamon – 1 tablespoon
  • Unsalted butter, softened a little – 1 tablespoon

Method

  1. Put your oven on to 180ĖšC fan, or 200ĖšC conventional
  2. Weigh out the butter and flour in the large bowl and either cut the butter into the flour using your pastry cutter or rub it in using your fingers (or you could use a food processor)
  3. Mix the rest of the biscuit dough ingredients into the butter and flour. Aim for a smooth dough but don’t overwork it
  4. Rest the dough for 10 -15 minutes in the fridge, wrapped in cling film or in a food bag
  5. When the dough is rested, dust both your work surface and your rolling pin fairly liberally with flour (there is a lot of butter in these biscuits and they may well stick otherwise)
  6. Roll out the dough to about 3-4mm thick and cut out as many rounds with the large cutter as you can. Then, if making rings, cut out a hole in the middle of each (you can re-roll these centre pieces of dough to make more biscuits)
  7. Mix the streusel ingredients lightly together in a bowl
  8. Put a teaspoon of the streusel mix on the top of each biscuit and spread it to the edges with the tip of a spoon. If you find this easier you can tip the streusel mix onto your worktop and then press the biscuits into the streusel, but be careful not to disfigure the shape of the biscuit by pressing too hard – I used the teaspoon technique on the round biscuits in my photos and the pressing technique on the ring versions
    SpeltBiccies2c-beforebaking.jpg
  9. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits, placing them gently on the prepared baking trays with at least 1cm gap between them
  10. If some of the biscuits look a bit bare in places you can sprinkle what’s left of the streusel over them before they go in the oven
  11. Bake for around 14 minutes in the middle of the oven
  12. As soon as the biscuits are out of the oven, lightly press the streusel down on the biscuits with the back of a spoon (to stop it from flaking off when eating)
  13. Leave to cool fully

SpeltStreuselShortbreads1

2 Comments

I'd love you to leave a reply :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.