An easy biscuit recipe that I use on a weekly basis in my bakery is this one, that I am going to share with you.
The biscuits or cookies you see in the photo below have been made using this recipe.
It is a simple and easy cookie recipe requires no special ingredients just a bit of patience as it does need to be made up a good few hours before you can use it.
I usually make this Italian biscotti dough up the day before, as my quantities are quite large and therefore it needs more time to stand.
And of course a few little secrets that I will reveal to you that will help you transform easy cookie recipes into perfect Italian biscuits that you will be so proud of!
What are the advantages of this Italian biscuit recipe?
If you have a fridge that works at high temps like I do then you can leave this mixture up to 2 weeks without ruining the end results
The great advantage of this is that all the shapes of biscuits or cookies you
want to make fresh can be cut out and placed in the freezer ready for the
day you need to bake them.
This saves lots of time in the preparation and also cooking as everything is ready (the oven is never waiting for you!).
Using this Italian biscuit recipe, the raw frozen cookies come straight out of the freezer on to the baking tray and straight into the pre-heated oven… What could be more simpler!
I tend to use this biscuit dough when making shaped biscuits and I love to use it to make Christmas cut out cookies and extra large cookies like in the photos below.
This Italian cookie dough doesn't contain any raising agents so when it is placed in the oven the biscuits don't overly rise losing their shape.
Another factor is that the cooking time for these Italian biscuits a minimal depend on size and thickness of the biscuits.
I use this simple biscuit recipe mainly for thin biscuits and for thicker cookies I prefer this cookie dough recipe.
This is the simplified method for making biscuit recipe, below I have included points that I feel are worth a mention for those of you who are looking for a more detailed explanation.
It is well worth reading before you tackle recipe in order to be aware of steps that do make a difference.
The secret here is to make sure that the fat and sugar are whipped up to a light and fluffy consistency.
Trying to this by hand is not an easy task, so if you have an electric mixer I insist that you use it.
Whether you are using margarine or butter it is advisable to make sure that it is very soft (not melted) as this does help to make the creaming process easier and quicker .
Throughout the creaming processing it is necessary that you constantly scrape down the edges of the bowl, to insure an evenness in the mixture.
Once creaming is on its way you can help the process by adding a rough table spoon or two of egg white. This helps to dissolve the sugar making it easier to cream.
No matter how big the quantity of biscuit dough you are making the eggs should be added gradually.
With the quantities above I recommend you add them one at a time.
When you add the first egg, pay careful attention to what happens to the creamed fat and sugar mixture.
This is perfect and it tells you that the fat and sugar have been beaten to the right consistency.
After leaving it to beat a little longer, give the bowl a good scraping add another egg and repeat until all eggs have been added.
The creamed mixture will start to curdle. This tells you straight away the fat and sugar and not been beaten enough. (just make a note and remember for the next time that you need to beat it more as this will give you a better end result.)
What to do if your mixture curdles. Give the bowl a good scraping and continue to beat. Depending on how early you have added the eggs, it can be rectified.
If you find that the curdling doesn't disappear add a table spoon of flour and continue to beat.
Continue adding eggs one at a time, giving the bowl a good scrape down and a good beating between each addition.
Whether you are mixing by hand or with an electric mixer, add the flour all in one go knead in slowly until all the flour has been absorbed.
Do not over do the kneading as this can have an opposite effect on the biscuit dough and make it tougher.
Now before you start thinking that you have done something drastically wrong and wondering how on earth you are going to roll out what you have prepared, Yes, this mixture is very creamy and that's exactly how it should be. Just place it in an air tight container or a bowl covered in cling film and place in the fridge.
This Italian biscuits dough needs to stand in the fridge for at least 6 hours, if its overnight even better.
Once the dough has stood and has become firm, you are ready to roll out and cut. Just make sure you flour the table sufficiently as this mixture does tend to stick easily especially when you are re-rolling the scrap dough.
Now one thing to be aware of when rolling out the biscuit dough is : every time you roll out the dough and then collect all the left over cuttings together , you are always adding more flour to the biscuit dough.
To help you understand what I mean , if you try this recipe make a point of putting to one side the first biscuit you roll out and cook and then the last one and note the difference.
You will find the last one will be heavier.
You can not completely avoid this happening but you can help it from becoming a drastic difference between the first and last biscuits you bake.
Now I appreciate that this may sound long winded, but it is exactly the proceed I use every time and it works.
By placing the leftover cuttings dough on top of the virgin dough and rolling them out without kneading does make a difference.
I must warn you about one thing. This biscuit recipe doesn't take well to warm conditions while being prepared.
To help you understand I never make this dough in the summer as it is very difficult to work with, no sooner as you roll it out, it will start to sweat. Ideal working temps are 20°C and below.
When I bake these Italian biscuits I do not use any grease proof paper. If you don't have non stick trays I would suggest that you use greaseproof paper to be on the safe side.
The first time you bake something new it is always a trail run, not knowing how the mixture reacts. So to be on the safe side, place your biscuits on the tray giving sufficient space to grow while cooking.
Once you see the results of your first tray then you will be able to space out accordingly.
I always try not to over bake this biscuit, in fact my perfectly cooked biscuits is when the underside of the biscuit starts to color and the top side is still almost white.
If you prefer a more well cooked biscuit, just leave slightly longer.
I know at the beginning I said this recipe was simple and easy, I hope after reading all the extra tips and warnings I haven't put you off.
Here are a few pages that may interest you related to this recipe.
Italian Biscuits – A favorite cookie in Sardinia and Italy, a simple biscuit with jam and dusted with icing sugar, we call them here : Ciambelle alla Maremellata
Italian Almond Cookies – This recipe is also a perfect candidate to use as the base of the tasty Christmas treats.
Italian Cookie Recipes : More cookie recipes for you to look at, with easy step by step instructions along with lots to photos for more visual help.
If you don't want to miss out on more Italian biscotti recipes and cookies that will be coming in the short future, why not sign up to my Sardinia Blog and be notified when my new pages are published, its easy to do and then you won't miss a treat!