Who doesn't enjoy a lovely crisp shortbread biscuit! Shortbread is revered in Scotland and often appears in tartan tins and boxes, a representation of our Scottish culture, although not a very healthy one!
My Aunt Nessie was an ace shortbread maker, her shortbread was light, crisp and delicious, just melt in the mouth fabulous and I can still remember it so well! She also made fabulous meringues, in fact all of my aunts were great bakers, as was my mum and my gran! Baking is a creative process and it's just lovely to bake cakes, biscuits and scones. There is nothing as good as home baking
Traditionally shortbread is just flour, butter and sugar but I wanted to make a vegan version and since I am mad on foraging at the moment, I added some dandelion petals and some lemon zest for extra polyphenols and a wee treat for our gut microbes, and of course a lovely subtle lemon flavour!
A tsp of mixed spice and orange zest would also be a lovely addition or a few tablespoons of chocolate chips, just use what you have!
You can make the basic recipe without these additions but its fun to add them if you have them!
I also replaced some of the flour with cornflour, which gives a crispier biscuit with a melt in the mouth texture! You can also use rice flour!
It's important to keep the vegan spread as cold as possible so use it straight from the fridge.
I used Vitalite vegan spread since that's what I had but on hindsight I would use Naturli which comes in a block, more like butter and it tastes great too!
So this is a really simple just add the ingredients to your food processor and process until a dough forms. You really need to rest the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or ideally longer to firm it up a bit.
If you don't have a food processor then just add the flours and sugar to a large baking bowl and add the vegan spread cut up, then use your fingers to roughly rub it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then just knead it a bit to bring it into a ball. It really helps to run your hands under the cold tap and handle the dough as gently as possible. Overworking it will result in a less crisp and tougher shortbread.
Then work fast and handle the dough as little as possible. Just roll it out on a floured surface to around 1/4 inch thick and either mark it into squares or rectangles, or use a cookie cutter to cut your biscuits. Dip the cutter into flour to prevent it sticking and quickly transfer your shortbread to a lightly greased baking tray or one lined with a silicone liner. Sprinkle the top with some sugar if you like. You can also prick the biscuits with a fork.
These were really lovely wee biscuits to enjoy with a cup of tea, or just as a wee treat or to keep the kids occupied for a while!
Here is my basic recipe, I hope you give them a go! The recipe also works using butter for a non vegan option!
So I absolutely love this fruit and nut rye sourdough. It's just so delicious and tastes so decadent and nourishing!
Due to the flour shortage I have been using rye flour a lot more and making these gorgeous loaves on a weekly basis. Sliced and frozen, this can be popped into the toaster for a sumptuous treat at anytime of day. A lovely weekend breakfast.
There is no added sugar in this loaf, the sweetness comes from the dried fruit. Figs, dates, apricots, prunes, cranberries and raisins all work well or indeed a combination of dried fruits using what you have available.
Nuts add a lovely crunch, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and brazil nuts all work well.
I add the zest of an orange and a teaspoon of mixed spice or cinammon to boost the flavour and a handful of cacao nibs for extra nutrients!
Citrus zest is high in vitamins and polyphenols, a real treat for our gut microbes and most of us throw away our citrus peels, but not me!! Nothing goes to waste at Nourished by Nature, especially not gut microbe boosting stuff!
So this loaf, apart from tasting delicious, is packed with fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of goodies, a real feast for our gut microbes and our taste buds.
This loaf will keep for around 5 days in a covered container or just slice and freeze it for a delicious healthy snack anytime!
I always leave this loaf to cool completely before slicing it, and often wrap it in a tea towel and leave it until the next day before I slice it. The crumb can be a bit gummy if you slice it too soon.
You need a rye sourdough starter to make this loaf and there is a preferment step so you need to do this the night before you want to make this.
Here is a link to make your own sourdough starter if you don't already have one!
RYE SOURDOUGH FRUIT & NUT LOAF
Makes one large loaf
Pre ferment for the night before
Tip the rye flour and salt into your wet mix and then add 150g hot water straight over the dry mixture.
Mix together quickly.
Add the chopped figs and nuts and fold in evenly.
Put the mixture into a lightly greased loaf tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with a light dusting of rye flour.
Cover with a shower cap or plastic bag and prove for a couple of hours.
Bake at 200 C for 40 minutes.
Cool, remove from the tin and leave until completely cold before slicing.
These wee crackers are simple to make and so good! And a great way of using up discarded or past its peak sourdough starter!
The addition of ground flaxseeds adds extra nutrition with a wee boost of good fats from the olive oil!
Rolling the dough thinly results in lovely crisp crackers, a perfect accompaniment to a vegan cheese board or with a dip or just as they are for a lovely wee healthy snack!
You can easily customise this recipe by adding different herbs or spices. We have tried rosemary and lemon zest, wild garlic and also smoked paprika, all delicious!
This recipe is from The Spruce Eats, and is the simplest and best sourdough cracker recipe I have tried to date!
So without further rambling, here it is!
Seeded Sourdough Crackers
1/4 cup sourdough starter
3 tablespoons wholewheat flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed/linseeds
4 teaspoons olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon seeds, sesame, poppy, sunflower, chia, nigella all work well
Preheat the oven to 350 F 175 C
Lightly flour a baking tray or use a silicone baking sheet.
Add all the ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a cohesive dough.
Turn the dough onto your baking tray and roll it thinly into a rectangle shape.
Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to score the dough into squares, rectangles or diamond shapes.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes then break into crackers.
🍃 Health educator🍃