Sunday, November 2, 2014

Anna Sultana's Biskuttini tar-Rahal #2 (Village biscuits / Maltese Style Cookies)

About four years ago I posted Ma’s recipe for Biskuttini tar-Raħal.
It’s a very simple recipe and the cookies are perfect served with a cup of tea.
A friend asked if there was another recipe for Biskuttini.
Is Malta an island?  
Of course there’s more than one recipe.

About the name… Biskuttini tar-Raħal means Village Biscuits.
But they are really light spiced cookies. 
Do not serve this as a bread with a stew.
Although they would be nice as a dessert.

They are also called Christening Biscuits because they were served during special occasions, such as christening parties. 
Then they would be decorated with swirls or lines of pink icing on top for the christening of a baby girl, or pale blue for a boy.
I know that’s not politically correct, but this is an old recipe, when folks followed the pink and blue custom.
If you’d rather not start a fight, you can use yellow or green.

Hints:

If you’d like to present your guests with different coloured cookies you can divide the icing into separate bowls and colour each bowl of icing with a different colour.


                        Biskuttini tar-Raħal

Makes about 36 cookies

Grease and flour 2 large cookie sheets
Preheat oven to 350º 

Sift together into a bowl
2 1/2 Cups flour         
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 teaspoons ground aniseed
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place on a plate
1 Cup flour

In a large mixing bowl place
1 1/4 Cups sugar
4 large eggs
Beat until mixture is thick and light in colour.
Add
the flour / spice mixture
4 teaspoons grated lemon rind
4 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 teaspoons vanilla
Blend until the mixture forms into a soft dough.

Scoop the dough with a spoon and place on the plate of flour.
Roll the dough ball to form a neat round ball.
Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about an inch between the cookies on the sheet.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden.
Cool on racks.

Royal Icing

In a medium bowl combine
1 2/3 Cups confectioner’s sugar        
2 Tablespoons warm water
a few drops of food colouring
You want the icing to be slightly runny.

Decorate the cookies with a drizzle of Royal Icing.

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