Honey, orange and hazelnut biscuits πŸ

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I have been a bit behind this month with my website and social media, though this sort of break is good for your sanity. For the most part this hiatus is due to my working on some sets of illustrated gift tags and leather bee key fobs (those in the pic above), and that I have opened an Etsy shop (click on Shop in the menu above) to start to sell some of these items.

Listing on Etsy may not seem much, as it’s pretty much there to make selling easy and to hand hold sellers, but it’s a big deal for me. I’ve put off selling my illustrations and crafts for too long because I have a little problem with numbers, muddling them up sometimes and that has lead me to be terrified of anything financial. I can’t say for sure that it’s dyscalculia (the ‘number version’ of dyslexia) as I’ve been able to work round it I’ve not needed to seek a label for it. Some days I’m fine, others I get confused: for instance, I could give you my phone number 100% correctly on one day, but the next day you might get the numbers in all the wrong order from me. My worse thing is choosing between similar numbers, such as in lists, questions or when comparing prices.

I have read into dyscalulia a little, after eventually discovering that it is a ‘thing’ and recognising myself a little in it. It appears that it can be very bad, causing fundamental problems such as not even being able to work out which is the higher denomination between two numbers. Imagine not being able to tell if you’re handing over a few pounds or hundreds or even if you’re getting out of the right floor from an elevator? Of course, there are all shades of difficulty in between mild and such extremes. As little as I experience it, I get teased and giggled at, so it must be acutely embarrassing for those who have a worse experience. People don’t get teased for being dyslexic anymore, they get help and understanding, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting help with number difficulties.

What I’m driving at with all of this rambling about numbers is not just because I’ve finally ignored my terror of having to do a tax return is that this little recipe is in my maths comfort zone and includes some geometry.

You may remember my (still) very popular spiral marble cake ‘cake and maths‘ post some time ago in which I gave diagrams and instructions to create a very graphic cake?spiralcake4

I continue to need the use of geometry – it’s one of the few areas of maths learnt at school I regularly use. Despite my issues with numbers I did understand the concepts and formulas of maths. I managed a C in ‘O’ Level Maths because I was bright enough to understand it all yet I made some howling errors through writing things down incorrectly. I rely on geometric principles to create many of the images in my day job as a graphic designer and I use geometry to develop stencils and plans for my crafts and baking.

This little craft make is dead simple! And, if you really want ease, you can just make these biscuits with any cookie cutter shape if you’re not fussed with keeping to the honeycomb hexagons.

Notes

  • Makes 12+ biscuits depending on the size of your hexagon stencil
  • You don’t have to make hexagons, but they’re a lovely nod to the honeycomb shape as you’re using honey rather than processed sugar granules for these biscuits
  • Instead of dip-icing,Β  you can pipe and flood the icing if you prefer – this will produce a smoother finish but of course takes a lot longer
  • Monin syrup is usually found in the tea and coffee aisle in a supermarket or deli, as it’s traditionally a coffee flavouring, although I only use it for baking and for flavouring cocktails 🍸
  • To crank the icing up a notch, you could paint black stripes across the biscuits to mimic a bee’s colouration
  • You could use chopped hazelnuts, but I like the large chunks of hazelnuts that are kept if you roughly crush whole nuts for this

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Equipment for the hexagon stencil

  • Card
  • Pencil and compass
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler

How to form the hexagon stencil

hexagon

  • This is a great bit of simple and elegant geometry! You can construct a hexagon in any circle without measuring or changing the dimension of your compass point. And it works with any radius circle
  • Draw a circle with your compass, I’d suggest using a 3 cm radius (6cm total diameter) for these cookies – Figure 1
  • Without altering the compass, place the point on the circumference of the circle, absolutely anywhere (the compass point placement is represented by the green dot). Now, make an arc, intersecting the circumference at the two points the pencil crosses – Figure 2
  • Move the compass point to one of these intersecting points (again marked here by a green dot) and make another arc – Figure 3
  • Continue round until you have a six intersecting points (two will have ‘doubled up’) – Figures 4 and 5
  • Join up the six points using a ruler and pencil to create a hexagon – Figure 6
  • Cut out with a craft knife and the ruler

Equipment for the biscuits

  • Large bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Sharp knife
  • Palette knife and/or cranked handle knife
  • Large baking tray, lined with parchment/greaseproof paper or 2 x smaller trays
  • Airing rack
  • Scales and measuring spoons
  • Citrus reamer
  • Small bowl (something low and with a wide circumference is ideal, as dipping biscuits into a small bowl is tricky)
  • Electric whisk, small balloon whisk or magic whisk

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter – 120g
  • Honey – 3 tablespoons
  • Plain flour or 00 flour – 230g
  • Monin noisette syrup or vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hazelnuts – 35g

Ingredients for the icingΒ 

  • Orange juice – juice of one large orange
  • Icing sugar – 200g
  • Egg white powder – just under 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon of fresh egg white
  • A few drops of yellow food colouring
  • A few drops of warm water if needed

Method

  1. Crush the hazelnuts into rough pieces (a good way to do this is to roll the rolling pin back and forth over them)
  2. Put the oven on to 180 C fan / 200 C
  3. Prepare a large baking tray with baking parchment
  4. Rub the butter into the flour in the bowl until you have small particles and no lumps of butter
  5. Mix the rest of the ingredients in (honey, syrup/extract and nuts)
  6. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 8mm thick (about 3/8″) (you may need to lightly dust the rolling pin with a little flour too)
  7. Using your hexagon shape as a template cut out as many hexagons as you can and place them about 1 cm apart on the baking tray
  8. Re-roll the leftover dough to create as many hexagons as possible until all the dough is usedIMG_0389
  9. Bake for 12 minutes
  10. Leave to cool a little, then transfer to a wire rack using the palette knife until completely cooled IMG_0391
  11. When the biscuits are ready, mix up the icing ingredients. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the lemon juice, egg white powder (or egg white), food colouring and water (if needed). Beat until it is smooth and totally lump-free. It needs to be a fairly thick but still fluid consistency, something like custard because you are dipping and the icing needs to cover the (probably) bumpy surface as the biscuits have nuts in them
  12. Dip each biscuit into the icing, and allow the icing to drip a little. Smooth off the side drips with a knife and place on a wire rack. Pop any bubbles in the icing with a toothpickIMG_0392
  13. Repeat with all the biscuits, after which you can go round the edges again to score off any drips
  14. Leave until the icing is solid, which will be at least 5-6 hours

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7 Comments

  1. Lovely! I’ll bet those are delicious. You know, I think help is available now for youngsters with dyscalcula … the difficulty as ever is getting it diagnosed in the first place. I know a number of older people with dyslexia who went through school labelled ‘thick’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well I hope so… that’s great news if true. I think if I’d had some help I’d be OK now as most of my issues are that I panic before I even start doing any finance, which makes it appear. Yes I remember people with dyslexia getting bullied, but back then it seemed like there was always something you got bullied for – mine was for being a speccy, nerdy swot! Frankly I couldn’t have looked more bulliable (if that’s a word) if I’d walked round with a ‘kick me’ label.

      Did any of those things for meringues help you at all?? xx

      Liked by 1 person

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