This recipe has been a family favourite since before we even were a family. Way back when, when my husband and I were newly married, our church put together a collection of recipes donated by the members of the congregation. This one came from a lady called Linda Fugard. If you happen to know her, please tell her that her recipe is now enjoying online exposure!
As you can see from the picture, the word 'biscuit' in the UK and South Africa is not the same as the American understanding of the word. These are lovely, crisp little sweet snacks to go with a cup of tea or coffee. I guess, at a push, Americans might call them cookies, but they have a totally different texture from what tends to pass for cookies in the US.
Be all that as it may, be warned, these are very more-ish! Fortunately, the recipe makes close to 200 little biscuits. It works brilliantly with a biscuit maker/cookie gun, but you can manage without one (see note below).
250ml icing sugar
250ml castor sugar
250g butter or margarine
250ml vegetable oil (I use sunflower, but canola would probably work just as well)
1,250ml (5 cups) flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
5ml cream of tartar
5ml vanilla extract (or essence - I prefer extract)
- Beat together the sugars, butter/marg and oil
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat well
- Add dry ingredients and mix well to form a soft dough
- Place dough into cookie gun and form into shapes on baking trays (you should be able to refill the standard sized gun about five times) and bake at 180C for about 10-12 minutes (7-8 minutes in a fan assisted oven). Remember that biscuits don't become crisp during baking. This only happens during cooling afterwards.
- Cool on a rack before storing in an airtight container
If you don't have a cookie gun, you can place teaspoon sized balls, evenly spaced on a baking tray, then flatten these with a wet fork. Alternatively, you could roll the dough into a sausage shape, chill it and slice it thinly. I have tried both of these and they work, but they are more time-consuming than the gun option.
You might also like to decorate the biscuits once you've got the shapes ready to bake. Sprinkles, nuts, choc bits, etc. are fine - just experiment until you find something you like. For Christmas last year, I baked a few batches using the Christmas tree shaped template and then added a little silver ball where the star would be at the top of the tree. Of course, this is also time consuming, so I usually don't go to such great lengths.