cooking melbourne

Discovering Melbourne's Artisan Foods and Produce

Butter Biscuit Break


Do you remember those round tins of Danish butter biscuits that were on prominent display in every supermarket years ago – they were a bit of a revelation at the time – inexpensive, melt in your mouth biscuits in all manner of shapes, tasting of sweet butter. For Scandinavians these little biscuits or something similar are probably a very basic pantry item for Hygge (Danish) or Fika (Swedish), a coffee break with something to nibble on. Sweet buns, Nordic breads, cake or biscuits as well as good coffee are an essential part of this cultural pit stop and importantly also involves stopping work, sitting down and socialising. Maybe we should stop our love affair with the wasteful takeaway coffee cup and actually sit down for a fika too. One Melbourne cafe, Napier Quarter, has taken the plunge and outright banned takeaway coffee in a bid to encourage a return to a sit down coffee. Owner, Daniel Lewis says, “I’m trying to get people to savour the experience of having a coffee. You have a knock off glass of wine after work and it’s about sitting down and talking to people, you wouldn’t put that in a takeaway cup and hop on the tram.” Just as the Spanish developed tapa, little morsels of tasty food to have with a glass of wine or beer and friends, the concept of stopping for coffee with a tasty biscuit or bun and friends is equally appealing. I wish we would do it more here and I wish cafes would provide dainty little butter biscuits rather than uninspiring, jaw-exercising cookies the size of a bread plate. I have noticed even Italian biscotti around some Melbourne establishments have become twice the size they were a couple of years ago. A little something nice made in-house to serve with coffee – how hard can that be? This butter biscuits recipe, while it does not give you all those lovely shapes of a tin of Danish butter biscuits, it is easy to adapt to nuts, choc chips or dried fruit as you like. The dough is pressed into a tin, chilled in the fridge and then sliced into finger shapes before baking. You will find them extremely light and crisp, tasting of sweet butter and vanilla – perfect for a hygge or fika.

Pecan Butter Biscuits

approximately 90

  • 500 g unsalted butter
  • 285 g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 575 g white bread flour
  • 210 g nuts, pecans or walnuts*
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream room temperature butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the flour and the nuts. Line a rectangular slab tin (20 x 30 x 2 cm) with baking paper and press the dough into it, smoothing the surface with a spatula.

Chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight. Remove from the tin when firm and using a large cooks knife cut the slab into three lengthwise. Slice each length into 0.5 cm thick slices and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet, approximately 1 cm apart. Bake for 12 minutes at 180ºC in a fan forced oven. Rotate the baking sheet half way through baking to ensure they bake evenly. Leave the biscuits to cool on the tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before packing in an airtight container.

  • substitute with pistachio nuts, dried cranberries or chocolate chips


cooking melbourne • January 3, 2019

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