Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bara Brith Biscuits

Although not a national holiday, St. David's Day is nonetheless celebrated in a variety of ways, from the well-known parades in bigger towns and cities, to children dressing up in traditional Welsh costume. Another ubiquitous event is the school eisteddfod, a festival of poetry, recitation, music, singing and dancing. These played a big role in my childhood, with extra-curricular activities at school nearly all revolving around these important competitions. My favourite was the individual and group recitation but I also enjoyed taking part in the country dancing, as evidenced in the photo below.

Kneeling down in the front row, squinting into the sun, my smile says it all. Unlike our recitation where we regularly reached the national finals, our dancing group never progressed beyond the first few rounds but that never dampened our enthusiasm. Even the opportunity to wear the costume was exciting enough.
Taking the flavours of a traditional bara brith, these biscuits are lightly spiced, crisp round the edges with a slight chewiness from the raisins. The Welsh dragon cutter adds a celebratory touch but obviously any shape would work well.

Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus.


Makes about 15 dragon biscuits, or 25 smaller round ones

90g soft salted butter
50g caster sugar
45g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
45g raisins, finely chopped
half a teaspoon mixed spice
200g plain flour
half a teaspoon baking powder

2 large baking trays lined with baking parchment

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

I use an electric mixer for the whole process but it could be done by hand. Cream the butter and sugar until pale. Beat in the egg, then add the chopped raisins, mixing well.

Sift the flour, mixed spice and baking powder together, then add to the butter and eggs, mixing until everything is combined.

Form into a ball, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a thickness of about half a centimetre. Cut into shapes and place on the baking sheets.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove with a spatula to a wire rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container.