Ready, steady, bake! The best biscuits to bake this weekend

Tea and biscuits are a match made in heaven.

Remember when you were younger and you would come back from school to find your mother and grandmother in the kitchen, baking up a storm? It didn’t have to be a special occasion. They would just break out the baking tins and make biscuits and other confectionery for the family.

The house would be enveloped with the warm smell of baked goods and you couldn’t wait until you were called to come pile a few of the biscuits on to a plate, make some tea and gorge yourself while watching YoTV.

Those were the days. But nothing is stopping you from doing the same thing for you and your family. Biscuits can keep for ages, so they can be prepared well in advance. The trick is hiding them from the family so they haven’t disappeared by the time you want to serve them.

If these two recipes don’t entice you to bake up a storm this weekend, then we’ve lost our touch.

But knowing us, we haven’t. So roll up your sleeves, get your ingredients ready and get baking!

RED VELVET BISCUITS (Makes 20-30)

Red Velvet Biscuits. Picture: Chris Collingridge

160g butter

250ml castor sugar

1 egg

5ml vanilla extract

430ml flour

60ml cocoa powder

15ml red food colouring

3ml vinegar

FILLING

125g butter

250g thick cream cheese

5ml vanilla extract

750ml icing sugar

Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.

Sift the four and cocoa powder and add to the creamed mixture. Combine the food colouring and vinegar and add. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 5mm and cut out your desired shapes.

Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and bake at 180ºC for 10-15 minutes until firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the tray.

FILLING

Cream the butter until fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until well-combined. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until fluffy.

Use the filling to sandwich two biscuits together.

JAM DELIGHTS (Makes 30-40)

Jam Delights. Picture: Chris Collingridge

250g butter

250ml castor sugar

2 extra-large eggs

750ml flour

250ml raspberry jam

Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift in the flour, mixing to make stiff dough. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 5mm thick, then press out 7cm circles, re-rolling the trimmings as needed.

Next, press out a 2cm circle from the middle of each of half the discs. Put discs on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Warm the jam in the microwave for a minute. Press through a sieve to remove the pips. Return the jam to the microwave and cook on full power for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove and cool.

Spread a thin layer of jam on the solid biscuits and top immediately with a biscuit that has the centre cut out. Store in an airtight container.