Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscuits
A few weeks ago, in the glorious days of Level 1 in everywhere in New Zealand, we joined a couple of other families at a friend’s house for lunch after church. We all did quick supermarket runs to get food to take and share and one of the things that someone else brought was a packet of dark chocolate and cranberry biscuits, which it turned out were particular favourites of a number of people in the church. Sadly the biscuits were normal, gluten-filled biscuits and I never got to taste them but the gauntlet was laid down – could I reproduce those delicious-sounding biscuits in a gluten-free version that was as tasty as the gluten version. I was fully up for the challenge, and my husband, who had tasted the gluteny biscuits, was up for the challenge of providing feedback on my creations to tell me how close I was to the benchmark set by the bought biscuits. We both prefer white chocolate, so once I’d come up with a recipe involving dark chocolate I just swapped it for white chocolate. Feel free to use any colour chocolate you like, or a mix of different kinds of chocolate.
This recipe uses a 250 ml cup as equal to 1 cup and I use the ‘scoop and level’ method of measuring dry ingredients, which is to scoop the ingredients into the cup and then level it off with a spoon or knife without packing down the dry ingredients. I make these with my stand mixer but an electric mixer will work just fine, as will doing it by hand, although the hand-mixing method will be hard work and take longer, thereby delaying your biscuit eating. Unfortunately I have just realised that despite making these a couple of times I have not taken note of how many the recipe makes, but I think it is about 18-20…but it may be more…but more biscuits than one is expecting isn’t necessarily a bad thing…
What you need:
¼ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 dessertspoon vanilla essence
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup cornflour/corn starch (it seems to go by 2 names!)
1 dessertspoon baking powder
Generous pinch of salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup white chocolate chips (or chunks cut from a large chocolate block – my preferred but less easy option)
What to do:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper or grease them well with butter.
- Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence.
- Add the eggs to the butter/sugar/vanilla mixture and mix in thoroughly.
- Add the rice flour, starches, baking powder and salt to the butter/sugar/vanilla/egg mix and mix in thoroughly.
- Add the cranberries and chocolate to the mixture and fold in until they are reasonably well distributed throughout the biscuit mix.
- Drop generous teaspoonfuls of the biscuit onto the prepared baking trays, leaving about 3 cm between each dollop of biscuit mixture.
- Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and fully baked. These can take a bit less time or a bit more so I usually check on them around the 8-9 minute mark and decide how much longer to give them from there. If they are only just turning golden at the 10 minute mark, I usually give them another minute or two or however long they need to turn a bit more golden brown.
- Once the biscuits are done, remove the baking tray from the oven and leave to one side for about 5 to 10 minutes – this is to give the biscuits and melted chocolate time to firm up and makes removing them from the tray much easier.
- Once the biscuits have cooled and firmed up a little, remove them from the baking tray with a spatula or fish slice and place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling down. I usually find it best to slide the spatula fully under each biscuit from one side to the other before removing them to make sure that no bits of biscuits stick as I try to lift them.