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Dorchester Biscuits

I’m off to a party later this afternoon so I’ve been doing a bit of baking in order to have something to take along. Since I don’t often do baking, I don’t have a stock of tried and tested recipes but I do have a book by Mary Berry (Ultimate Cake Book); her recipes are well tested and usually a safe bet.

My eye was drawn to savoury ‘Dorchester Biscuits’. I expect these originate from the Dorchester hotel rather than Dorchester in Dorset and almost certainly not from Dorchester on Thames, just down the road from Oxford. Search results to dig up the information were hampered by the fact that so many people have been enthusiastic about the results from Mary’s recipe and I’m about to join them!

The dough is formed from equal amounts of plain flour, butter and grated cheese, seasoned with a pinch of salt and a little cayenne pepper. Being out of that, I added a little regular chilli powder instead although I expect cayenne would be even better. No extra liquid is needed as there is plenty of fat to form the dough – half flour to fat instead of the half fat to flour rule for pastry. The dough is formed into small balls, lightly flattened on a prepared baking sheet and baked until golden brown (about 15 minutes at 160°C in my fan oven). I wasn’t too precise in my portioning as I tried to get the 30 biscuits suggested in the recipe; looking at the results, I think it would have been better to focus on the ‘walnut sized lump’ instruction and get less biscuits or even to weigh each one out. The tops are decorated before baking with a scattering of chopped nuts.

End result? Delicious and I’m having to discipline myself not to sample too many while they cool, ready to pack up and head to the party.

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