You’ve decked the halls, the tree has been ornamented, the fairy lights have been unspooled and your playlist is set to blast festive (jingle bell) rock but still wondering about the baking… we are here to help.
Get cracking on your baking spree with this simple Peanut Butter Biscuit recipe from Chef Rahul Rana, Executive Pastry Chef at Tresind in Dubai.
All you need are four ingredients and the average time it takes you to get through one episode of a Netflix show – 30 minutes. Even better – they’re eggless, so vegetarians can rejoice!
Be a smart cookie and start with this deliciously simple recipe, which uses a classic three-ingredient shortcrust pastry base. It allows you the freedom to improvise and build on the recipe. If you’re feeling adventurous and fancy yourself the next Marry Berry, add eggs or a smattering of chocolate chips. It makes the biscuits fluffy and gooey in texture, explains Chef Rahul.
Cookies vs Biscuits
In case you’re wondering what the difference between ‘cookies’ and ‘biscuits’ are, Chef Rahul has solved that headscratcher too. The answer you’ll be surprised goes beyond the simple American and British English squabble.
“Cookies are similar to cake and are chewy and fluffy. Biscuits are crispier and crunchier.” Which makes these sturdy peanut butter bites perfect to dunk into a cup of hot cocoa or tea.
“Also, cookie recipes always include milk or eggs and sugar, flour and butter are added in equal ratio, Chef Rahul points out. “With biscuits, the quantity of butter is mostly higher than the flour.”
Call them cookies, call them biscuits, call them crackers, call them anything you want. Just call them to your Christmas celebrations because they’re scrumptious, a great baking ritual to keep the little ones busy over the winter break, and the holidays are half-baked and incomplete without them.
Step by step guide to Peanut Butter Biscuits
Chef Rahul Rana, Executive Pastry Chef at Tresind
Whisk/stand mixer/ food processor
Parchment paper or baking paper/ cooking spray
100gm salted butter
100gm peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
100gm icing sugar
150gm all-purpose flour
Mix the softened butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Add half the icing sugar first, whisk to incorporate it well into the butter and then add the remaining half. Whisk the mixture gently until it’s smooth and achieves a creamy texture and the butter turns a pale yellow, bordering on white.
Add peanut butter to this mixture and whisk briskly. You can use crunchy or smooth peanut butter depending on whether you’d like your biscuits to have an extra crunch. If you can’t get your hands on a bottle of crunchy peanut butter, just add a handful of toasted and crushed peanuts into your dough.
Add all-purpose flour and fold it into the mixture until it’s well-incorporated. Like the icing sugar, add the flour in parts as well, so mixing is a smooth and mess-free affair. Use a whisk to fold in the first part. Later, use a spatula to stir in all the ingredients of the dough and mix until all ingredients have blended well and the dough looks uniform.
Make sure to not over mix the dough. Over mixing the biscuit dough aerates (add too much air) the dough, which makes the dough rise then fall in the oven, leaving you with biscuits that are flat, hard and brittle. (If that happens, crush them and use it as a pudding base or as ice cream topping.)
Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is optional and you can proceed to step 6 if you’re pressed for time.
However, refrigerating the dough prior to baking helps relax the gluten, which ensures the biscuits hold their shape in the oven and rise, giving them a crispy consistency without being chewy from the center and doesn’t crumb. Cooling the dough also ensures the butter stays firm. Melted butter in the dough will make the biscuits flatten and spread out while baking and they lose out on volume and density.
Divide the dough into portions of roughly 10-15gm and roll into balls between the palms of your hands, then gently press to flatten them slightly, so they’re more discs than spheres. Each flattened dough disc should measure around ¼ inch in thickness.
Place the dough discs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Ensure they’re spaced out evenly (around 2 inches apart) so they have room to expand in the oven.
Dust a fork in flour and press it over the discs to flatten them further and mark them with the fork’s pattern.
Preheat the oven to 160⁰C. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes.
Tips: If you’re using a food processor/stand mixer, refrigerating your flour in advance is a neat little hack. In food processors, friction between ingredients is high and can cause the butter to melt. You can also use cold butter that hasn’t been softened if you’re using a food processor or stand mixer.