Sometimes Derek asks me for some baking to take to business meetings. Even the most focused business person relaxes a little when presented with a tea or coffee and some home baking, and it is a good ice breaker.
I thought a batch of neat, sweet, crisp butter biscuits sprinkled with demerara sugar would be suitable. The recipe has been adapted from the wonderfully atmospheric 'Scandanavian Christmas' by Trine Hahnemann, where she calls these biscuits 'Crisp Cinnamon Cookies' but as I didn't sprinkle them with cinnamon, I have temporarily renamed them 'Crisp Demerara Cookies', though they are much more a biscuit (crisp) than a cookie (soft).
375g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
125g light soft brown sugar
250g cold slightly salted butter, cut into small pieces.
1 large egg, beaten.
50-60g demerara sugar
1 egg, beaten together with 1 tsp cold water.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid or similar stand mixer, beat together the butter and light soft brown sugar until well combined and creamy.
Add the grated lemon zest and egg and beat until amalgamated; scraping down the sides to ensure thorough mixing. (The mixture may look a little lumpy at this stage)
Add the sieved flour and baking powder with the mixer running at low speed and beat until the mixture comes together in clumps.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Divide into two or three sausage shapes approx 6cm in diameter, wrap securely in cling film and chill in the fridge for 50-60 minutes or overnight. (Or put into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months or until required, defrosting to fridge temp before slicing)
Preheat oven to Gas 6/200 c/400 f. and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (no need to grease)
Cut into thinnish slices, 2-3 mm thick, and place a few cms apart on the tray (they do spread a little, despite the dough being chilled).
Brush sparingly with the beaten egg and water, and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake for 10-14 minutes, depending on your oven, until they are golden; check the underside is also golden to give an indication of done-ness.
Remove to a cooling rack and ensure they are cold before storing in an airtight tin, or bag neatly with a suitably smart ribbon.