Today's recipe is for Classic Vegan Biscuits which are perfect for homemade cheesecake base or you can shape them in any kind of form as well.
They are extremely easy to make and the dough will only take a couple of minutes :)
Grab the recipe along with some history of classic biscuits ;)
The Earliest Evidence
The earliest foods which we might call biscuits were probably baked on stones in the Neolithic era. However, archaeological remains of cooked grains do not fully reveal the form they took – cakes, porridges or flat, crisp biscuits. The term biscuit comes to English from the French biscuit (bis-qui), which itself has a Latin root: panis biscotus refers to bread twice-cooked.
The Romans certainly had a form of biscuit, what we’d now call a rusk and, as the name suggests, it was essentially bread which was re-baked to make it crisp. It kept for longer than plain bread, and was useful for travellers and soldiers’ rations.
The remains of the granaries at Housesteads Roman Fort. The short stone pillars supported a wooden floor that kept vermin and damp away from the grain,which was used to make bread and possibly rusk.
By the 14th century, the word biscuit had appeared in English, and the definition was broadening. Twice-baked biscuits were still popular, both savoury and sweet. But other forms, related to pancakes, were also becoming more common. Wafers were one of the longest-lasting medieval biscuits, made of a sweetened batter which was cooked over a fire and could be moulded or rolled as technology improved.
These biscuits weren’t just functional, but pleasurable as well. They were often eaten at the end of the meal, as a digestive, a role which biscuits would continue to play until the 20th century.
The original long-lasting savoury biscuits didn’t die out, however. Indeed, as ship-building techniques changed, and European populations grew, expanding across the globe, they became a very important part of naval provisions. The age of exploration morphed into the age of conquest and colonisation, and sailors spent increasingly long amounts of time at sea.
Ships took on fresh food where they could find it, but the staple ration was preserved meat and ship’s biscuit. The earliest surviving example of a biscuit is from 1784, and it is a ship’s biscuit. They were renowned for their inedibility, and were so indestructible that some sailors used them as postcards.
The Importance of Sugar
Biscuits started to change in the 17th century. Prior to then, sugar had been very expensive, eaten only by the very rich, and imported from the near east. By the 1660s, Britain had colonised the West Indies, and a very dark part of world history had begun. Britain was not the only European country to participate in the slave trade, but it was the most significant. It implemented the plantation system in the West Indies and America, and built an empire of sugar based on human misery. In Britain itself, the price of sugar fell, and the foods which used it became cheaper and more accessible.
The types of biscuits (and cake) grew, and many more people started to consume them, on many different occasions. Although Britain abolished its slave trade in 1807, and slavery itself in 1833, sugar continued to be produced under horrific conditions for many decades. In America slavery was not abolished until 1865.
Wiggs of Many Types
Improved access to ingredients was not the only reason for a biscuit boom in the 17th century. Cooking technology was changing too, and food was undergoing a quiet revolution as Italian and then French influences came to bear. The old guild system was breaking down, and, try as they might, the bakers’ guilds could not stop people baking biscuits at home.
New types of biscuit found their way into recipe books: boiled and then baked, both jumbels and cracknels were knotted into intricate shapes. Macaroons melded meringues with nuts and took advantage of the magical properties of a stiff egg foam. Rice cakes showcased the usefulness of flours beyond the standard wheaten flour, while in Germany in particular, gingerbreads became a true mark of regional identity.
There was a lot of crossover between breads and cakes. One popular recipes was for wiggs, which were neither one nor the other, and were both eaten for breakfast, and dunked into chocolate as an afternoon snack.
Savoys and Ratafias
Chocolate was one among three new beverages to be introduced in the 17th century. Coffee and tea also came into Britain, and would play a role in the history of biscuits. Until the 18th century biscuits were still mainly eaten as part of the dessert course, along with some casual nibbling. But as tea became entrenched in the British social scene, biscuits became an integral part of a new ritual, which would eventually become known as afternoon tea.
The 18th century also saw the development of two biscuits which would become larder staples in Britain: savoys and ratifias. The former were often baked in long tins, and by the 20th century would be known as ladyfingers, while the latter were very crisp and almond flavoured. Both were used a lot in cooking, especially for that British classic, trifle.
Boomtime for Biscuits
By the 19th century, biscuits were everywhere. They were easy to make at home, and there was a type for every occasion. The middle and upper classes, who sat down to meals of several courses, ate them for dessert, which also consisted of ice cream, fruit and nuts. This was the time for flavoured mini-meringues and macaroons, wine biscuits (intended to accompany wine), and a type of biscuit which was bewilderingly difficult to define: the petit four.
Petit four means ‘small oven’, and was the name given to tiny, delicate biscuits cooked in a low oven after things needing a higher temperature had been removed. They were usually cut into intricate shapes. They were sometimes coloured, always decorated, and could be flavoured with all sorts of things. They were a classic dessert biscuit.
Meanwhile, snack biscuits boomed too, mainly based on sponge types, which was relatively plain and lent themselves to a nice cup of tea. Queen Victoria was a huge fan, and had biscuits cooked at Windsor before being sent to whichever palace she was resident, such as her beloved Osborne on the Isle of Wight. These included langues de chat, chocolate sponges, wafers, petits fours, and rice cakes. She was a hearty eater.
The Modern Biscuit and Beyond
Today, we are surrounded by biscuits. In recent years, as sugar has come under the spotlight as a contributor to health problems in the western world, biscuits have fallen under a shadow. But biscuits are small, and not intended to be eaten a packet at a time.
During the Second World War, their role as a tiny element of comfort was paramount, and today baking biscuits at home continues to bring joy and relaxation in difficult times. They come in infinite varieties, are satisfying to eat, and, thanks to the popularity of the Great British Bake Off and other such programmes, most of us know at least the basic principles of how to make them. They can even be made using a 3D printer.
From their early days as a practical food to the explosion of types and techniques in the 19th century, biscuits have a long and fascinating history. Whether you prefer a digestive or a bourbon, a pink wafer or a jammie dodger, there is a biscuit for everyone – and I’ll happily raise my cup of tea to that.*source
Let's jump to the recipe!
Prep: 30 min
Cook time: 6-10 min
Servings: 8 portions
Calories per serving: 234 kcal
Find the recipe & nutrition facts below :
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegan butter (coconut butter; margarine) (90 gr.)
1-2 tbsp ice water
Step 1: In a food processor add in flour, sugar, salt, and solid vegan butter, blend for a minute, then add the ice water and blend until you reach a dough consistency.
Step 2: With your hands make a ball from the dough, cover with stretch foil and let it chill in the fridge for around 30 mins.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 170C.
Step 4: Roll the dough and cut whatever shapes you like.
Step 5: Transfer the biscuits onto a baking tray.
Step 6: Bake for between 6-10 min. depending on the size and thickness of the biscuits. (until you have a bit of golden color)