Post #862 Lemon Butter Biscuits From Downton Abbey!

July 21, 2022 at 10:20 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I told you I’d come back once in a while, and I’ve found something I had to share. Two reasons: first, it’s a delicious bite sized morsel of lemony goodness; second, it’s incredibly easy and fast to make. The longest part of this recipe is heating up the oven.

Some time ago, Partner/Spouse ordered the book above from Amazon. When it arrived, I glanced through it and decided I wanted to read the entire thing, cover to cover. I left it in the bathroom since each recipe and additional verbiage was short enough to read in one visit, or maybe two. I read my way through the book, then put it on the shelf of recipe books. Several recipes stood out to me. Later Partner/Spouse mentioned this one, which I’d liked too. It’s no secret that in our house, lemons rock! We love the tart bright flavor.

Recently, Partner/Spouse has had to do some traveling for work. He doesn’t travel well so he takes calming medications prescribed by his doctor to get him through the ordeal. One of the side impacts of this is that he seldom considers eating during a flight so by the time he’s home, he’s ravenous. So, I like to have a cool fizzy caffeine loaded drink available for him. At the end of one of his flights, I had everything in the car, including a bag with a batch of these little beauties. He recognized them immediately and slammed one into his mouth at once to taste their goodness. He perked right up.

We’ve long been Downton Abbey fans, almost from episode one. (Another period piece we like is The Gilded Age. Watch it if you haven’t already and are a Downton Abbey fan. It’s written by the same guy, and the acting is superb.) We have a lot of DA cookbooks and “behind the scenes” books. I’ve always been intrigued to try some of the Edwardian recipes, and the chef who authored this book did a good job making them accessible to modern cooks.

Here’s the recipe:

High Tea Lemon Butter Biscuits

  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  3. 1/2 tsp table salt
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. Zest from 1 whole large lemon, or 2 small lemons
  6. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  7. 1/4 cup sugar
  8. 1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare a baking sheet with either parchment or cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk the first five ingredients. Whisk well to incorporate the lemon zest well. Set that aside and in a medium bowl, cream together the last three ingredients until light and fluffy, about three to five minutes. STIR in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture by hand. Do NOT use a machine as this will make the dough tough. Stir the ingredients together until just mixed. If the dough does not come together, add a tsp of water or lemon juice. Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll into a ball about the size of a walnut. There should be enough dough for 18 biscuits. If the ball is too big, it will remain doughy and soft and you don’t want that, so pinch off some dough and re-roll. Place balls on prepared baking sheet and put in hot oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes. They will remain round but flatten a tiny bit. The tops will be lightly brown and may have cracks. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. They are delicious warm, but exquisite when completely cooled. They will get crunchy as they cool if they are done correctly. They can be topped with a stiff lemon glaze if you desire.

This is a basic shortbread biscuit. If you’re experienced with shortbread, this biscuit will be easy to make. If you’re not experienced with shortbread, this biscuit will introduce you to the joys of making a treat that’s so easy and quick. I make shortbread of various kinds all the time. I made this batch this morning before the day heated up and made the kitchen unbearable. It’s thirty minutes start to finish, including the washing up. Since we always keep lemons in the house, this is an easy bake. But Partner/Spouse has already suggested ways to make it different when lemon isn’t available. He thinks the addition of various nuts would be good. And he suggested sesame seeds. I’m also thinking a basic shortbread with a touch of vanilla.

Some of the things I’ve run into when making these have been timing issues. Since these cookies are small, the difference between doughy, perfect, and overbaked can be timed in about 120 seconds. Also, humidity has a big impact. Today, we’re going through a hot, muggy spate of weather with rain storms popping up unexpectedly. Today’s batch didn’t crisp up as well as they should have when they cooled. So on humid days add a minute of baking time.

The first batch I made I goofed and doubled the amount of sugar. It tasted only slightly lemony, and there was no butter flavor. It was good shortbread, but not what I was expecting. This time, I remembered the correct amount of sugar and the lemon and butter were the stars.

Also, I take them off the baking sheet almost immediately. The residual heat from the baking sheet continues cooking the biscuits, and I don’t want to risk scorching the bottoms.

Well, that’s about it. I hope you try these cookies and like them as much as we do.

As always,

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