Crunch! A delectably delicious crunch! That’s what I love about making this type of biscuit.
This version has a spicy kick with my homemade Chinese Five Spice blend being the star of the show. You take a bite (and after the thrill of that crunch) you go on a bit of an adventure. You sort of think ‘oh yes I can taste the star anise – or is it the fennel – yep there’s the cinnamon popping through’ and then before you know it, the deeper layers of the pepper and cloves weave their way onto your taste buds.
Or else none of that happens and you remain in a mysterious bliss just saying something like ‘hmmmm, wow, I am not sure what spices I can taste here, but I like it’.
I thought I’d do a bit of a step-by-step visual with these (below). Gluten-free, vegan baking is easy once you know how. Gluten-free flours work a little differently to regular wheat or glutenous flours. They love to work in unison with a combination of different flours to bring out the best in each other. (Haha – how many times can I say ‘flour’ in one paragraph!)
In this recipe, I’ve used my favourite rice flour and tapioca flour (available in good health food stores). Instead of tapioca flour, you can even use tapioca starch (and to be honest in England, where I currently live the tapioca ‘flour’ that I buy is more like tapioca starch anyway) or yucca flour.
Add maple syrup to sweeten and the effect is a light, crunchy, slightly melt-in-the-mouth affair.
OK, the first step in this recipe is to mix the ingredients together and create a lovely sort of dough ball.
Once you’ve done that you want to lightly sprinkle some extra rice flour from your packet over the surface that you are going to roll on.
You will need a rolling pin.
However… I have worked on retreats before abroad, finding that there is no rolling pin in the kitchen. In which case I would find something else, like a round, flat surfaced jar. Otherwise, I would simply just press the dough out evenly with my hands (maybe making it a little thicker than I would if I could actually roll it).
So then we’ll pop your dough on to the surface ready for rolling (or pressing). Then we roll it out. Gluten-free flour doesn’t have the elasticity that wheat flour does, so if you get cracks at any time, it’s easy – just press it back together with your fingers…
And then if the dough starts sticking to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a little bit of rice flour on top and then continue to roll.
You need to keep turning the dough so that you roll it evenly. It shouldn’t fall apart unless it starts sticking to the surface (in which case push the dough back together and sprinkle a little more rice flour on your rolling surface)… You want to get it as thin as you can (about a half a centimetre if possible – but if that’s tricky just go with what you can do and they’ll be fine).
Then use either a cookie cutter or the open end of a glass jar and cut out as many rounds as you can.
Once you are finished with that, press the rest back together and roll out again. Cut more rounds. Take the last lot of unrolled dough; press it back together; roll out and then just cut squares or triangles with it.
Pop all of your biscuits onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 18 minutes at gas mark 4 (350F or 175C) and then take out to cool on a baking tray…
Oh yes, one last thing. I used homemade my Chinese Five Spice recipe for this. If you would like to know how to make your own, then hop over to my 5 Spice page here for my formula. Alternatively just use a pre-ground shop version and it’ll still work a treat.
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