Plain biscuits, with their simplicity and versatility, have been a beloved staple in the world of baking for generations. While many of us often find ourselves drawn to the allure of rich, decadent pastries, there’s something undeniably comforting about the understated charm of plain biscuits. In this blog post, we’ll explore the timeless appeal of plain biscuits, their history, and why they continue to hold a special place in our hearts and kitchens.
A Brief History of Plain Biscuits
Plain biscuits, often referred to simply as “biscuits,” are thought to have originated in Europe, with their history dating back centuries. The term “biscuit” itself comes from the Latin “bis coctus,” which means “twice baked.” Early biscuits were a far cry from the soft and fluffy versions we enjoy today; they were hard, durable, and ideal for long journeys, which made them a staple for sailors and explorers.
The idea of sweetening biscuits emerged later, with ingredients like sugar and spices being added to create a sweeter taste. In many cultures, including the United States and the United Kingdom, biscuits evolved into an integral part of daily life, whether served alongside a cup of tea or used as a base for decadent desserts like shortcakes.
Why Plain Biscuits Hold a Special Place in Our Hearts
- Versatility: Plain biscuits are incredibly versatile. They can be enjoyed at any time of day, from breakfast to dinner. They can be served as a side dish, a dessert, or the star of the show.
- Comfort Food: The simplicity of plain biscuits is comforting. Whether you have fond childhood memories of biscuits baked by a loved one or enjoy them as a soothing, warm snack on a rainy day, they offer a sense of nostalgia and reassurance.
- Easy to Make: While some biscuits can be intricate and time-consuming to prepare, plain biscuits are relatively quick and easy to make. With just a few basic ingredients like flour, baking powder, butter, and milk, you can have a batch ready in no time.
- Pairs with Anything: Plain biscuits are like a blank canvas for culinary creativity. You can pair them with a wide array of toppings, spreads, and fillings, from butter and honey to savoury gravies, or use them as a base for sandwiches or desserts.
Recipe: Classic Plain Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup cold milk
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Pour in the cold milk and stir until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it gently a few times.
- Roll or pat the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness.
- Cut out biscuits using a round cutter or a glass.
- Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Enjoy your freshly baked plain biscuits!
Plain biscuits are a testament to the enduring appeal of simple, honest food. With their rich history, versatility, and heart-warming comfort, they remain a cherished favourite in our culinary repertoire. So, the next time you find yourself savouring a plain biscuit, take a moment to appreciate the delightful simplicity that continues to make them a cherished treat in our lives.