The weekend before last, I went away for a girls weekend to the Hunter Valley. It was filled with local wine, delicious and large amounts of cheese and of course, great company. Some of us drove down on the Friday listening to RnB Friday's, all on a giddy high from having the day off work... we were free!! (until Monday). And! we were heading to a farm that had a real fire place with logs of wood and chickens that laid eggs. To say we were slightly excited was an understatement.
I was a little too excited the night before and morning of and made two containers of baked goodies. Homemade Monte Carlos and Food 52's famous Blondies. I couldn't decide which one so ended up making both, I didn't think anyone would complain.
After we all survived the grocery shop and after everyone was still best of friends we arrived at our little farm house for the weekend and were greeted by cows and an over-friendly cat called 'Smudge'. I say over-friendly because he had a plan which we realised quite quickly; he was trying to butter us up to let him inside by the fire but after rolling in cow patties, eating a bird on our door step and strict instructions from the owners it best he stay outside. While it was still light we went to visit the chickens AND a mama cow and her calf. Ahhhhh we all squealed, you could tell we were not from the country. When the farm dogs tried to round us up like wondering cows we decided it was time to retreat inside and warm ourselves up with a cuppa and a Monte Carlo before we cracked open the champagne and cheese platter.
The first challenge of the weekend was not who could finish their tea first and start on the bubbles but to light the fire and keep it going. We had wood, we had kindling and we had a match. Yes. One match. Luckily we had a ex-Scout with us and a couple of tea-lights to help.
*i thought i told you to skip straight to the recipe!
The next morning we were up at sparrows fart to get ready for our early shuttle bus pick-up. Over cooked eggs (I'm useless at cooking eggs), buttered toast, milky tea, face on, hair done and the realisation of my jacket still sitting at home but I was ready to start tasting what the Hunter Valley was made of. My favourites were definitely Ernest Hill and Draytons, they were also the first two we went to so that could also why I remember the wines better then the rest. The last stop was the Vodka Distillery which was more fun for the novelty of flavoured shots in test tubes then exactly tasty. The chilli vodka blew my head off! It was home after that to start our fire again and warm our feet, luckily our late addition to the girls weekend brought more matches with her late on Friday night. Farm/life saver!
Being back to the usual grind of Monday to Friday now for 2 weeks, I cannot wait to escape again this long weekend. But if I can recommend anything, it's to make these Monte Carlo Biscuits this weekend. They are seriously good.
#freakinamazing #sososodelicious #betterthentheoriginal #sorryarrnotts #homemadewinseverytime #yumyumyumyumyum #iusedhomemadejam #bestbiscuitever #justdoit #makethemnow #whatareyouwaitingfor!? so.... why are you still sitting reading this??
If your not an Aussie and weren't brought up licking the centre out of these chewy jam, cream filled biscuits then you probably have no clue what I'm talking about. The Monte Carlo is an iconic Australian biscuit made by Arnotts which has been around since 1926 and in my opinion, this homemade version is going to change your biscuit making/eating life forever.
The honey, golden syrup and coconut in the shortbread gives it a really great caramelised, nutty flavour while the sweet sugary buttercream on the inside is tongue tingling against the tart raspberry jam. I used my homemade raspberry jam that I made a few weeks ago so I am slightly bias and probably love them even more because of it but you could use a store bought jam and still make one of the best biscuits you'll ever make.
They go perfect with a cuppa or even a glass of bubbles.
Monte Carlo Biscuitsadapted from Paul West, River Cottage Australia.
makes about 30 sandwiched biscuits
for the biscuit.
180g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
for the filling.
raspberry jam, homemade or store bought
70g butter, softened
1 cup icing mixture, sifted
1 teaspoon milk
dash of vanilla
for the biscuits.
- Preheat oven to 175C/350F and line as many baking trays as your have with baking paper.
- Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, honey and golden syrup and beat until really well combined.
- In a separate bowl mix together flour and baking powder (really well) using a whisk. Add the coconut and then combine all the dry ingredients with the butter mixture stirring until everything is evenly combined and a soft dough forms.
- Pinch off about a teaspoon (roughly 10g) of dough at a time and roll into a smooth ball. Place on your lined baking tray about 3 inches apart. When you have filled one tray, press each ball down to flatten it then using a wet (must be wet!) dessert spoon smooth over the top, flattening it more and forming it into an oval shape, about 5mm thick. Using a fork, rough up the tops to give them a more traditional 'Monte Carlo' biscuit look.
- Once you have done as many trays you have/fit in your oven, you can start baking.
(I had to make mine in batches as this recipe makes about 60 halves and I only own 2 baking trays and a tiny oven)
- These biscuits will take about 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven so keep an eye on your first tray to give you a guide for baking. They should come out of the oven golden brown and smelling of the golden syrup and honey.
- Allow to cool on trays for about 5 minutes then remove onto wire racks to cool completely.
- When all your biscuits are baked, start on your buttercream filling.
for the buttercream filling.
- Cream butter until pale a creamy then add your icing mixture then your vanilla and milk. Beat on high until the buttercream is pale and fluffy.
- You can now start to fill.
filling your biscuits.
- No one is perfect so not all your biscuits are going to be the same size. Match them up in pairs as best you can.
- Your can fill these two ways:
The first way, spread about a teaspoon of buttercream onto one side of a paired biscuit and spread about half a teaspoon of jam on the other and press gently sandwiching them together.
Or the second way, put your buttercream into a small piping bag or sandwich bag and cut about 5mm of the tip/corner off. Pipe around the edge of one of your paired biscuits and a swirl in the centre. Spoon half a teaspoon of jam on the inside of your buttercream piping edge and on top of the swirl and press gently sandwiching them together.
(I used the second method to fill them as it seems to hold the jam inside a little bit better and I didn't want the jam to leak out everywhere during the car trip. BUT both ways will taste just as delicious.)