Semolina and wholemeal cookies

These biscuits with the wholemeal remind me of a digestive biscuit, it has that bran nutty taste and texture.  Anne, the miller at Felin Ganol gave me this very versatile recipe, it’s delicious and at the same time manages to be egg free and dairy free.  I have tried batches replacing the wholemeal (wholewheat) with white spelt flour or ordinary white flour but I keep coming back to using stoneground wholemeal and semolina for the flavour and texture.  See my notes below about replacing semolina.

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Small children like the mess of icing these.

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Dough by machine

In a food processor pulse the cubed fat with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and there are no lumps of butter.  Add the sugar, golden syrup (or honey) pulse again for few seconds until well mixed.   Add orange juice and give a few pulses until well blended and it appears like wet sand.

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Dough by hand

Making it by hand is the same only you need to rub with your fingertips the fat into the flour until all the fat has been broken down and dispersed into the flour resembling fine breadcrumbs.

Once the rest of the ingredients have been added bring damp mixture together, should be moist enough to gather into a dough shape.  Cover and refrigerate to rest.  The dough will appear with lots of cracks.

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The dough is a little fragile to roll out because it has no egg and small amount of fat to ratio of flour but very doable, my advice would be to cut the dough into quarters and roll each quarter out at a time, it’s easier to handle when it is in smaller pieces.

How thin the dough is rolled out will effect the end texture of the biscuit.  Too thin and they will be more of a crisp snap biscuit rather then the digestive biscuit quality.

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Note

If you can not buy stoneground wheat semolina do not bother to replace it with the normal semolina usually sold in shops because that semolina will be from roller milled flour and therefore will not have flavour.  Replace it instead with normal plain white flour but decrease the amount to 50g.  And increase the wholemeal amount to 130g.

If you are able to get hold of stoneground flour milled by a proper stoneground mill, it will have a better flavour and a coarser texture.  I would never buy a stoneground flour from a mill that is also a roller mill as I do not trust it, and therefore not worth paying the extra money for it.

Semolina milled in the UK is made from normal wheat, not to be confused with semolina from durum wheat which is produced in Italy and common in the US, and has a hard bitty texture even when baked.

 

Felin Ganol's semolina and wholemeal biscuits (cookies)
 
Ingredients
  • 90g / ½ cup + 2tbsp wholemeal flour*
  • 90g / ½ cup stoneground semolina*
  • pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g / half stick butter or vegetable shortening like Cookeen
  • 50g / ¼ cup + 1tbsp tightly packed soft brown sugar/muscovado
  • 40g / 2 tablespoons golden syrup or honey (warmed easier to measure)
  • 3g / ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (if swapping brown sugar for white use baking powder instead)
  • 30ml / 2 tablespoons orange juice (half orange)
  • 3-5g / ½ - 1 teaspoon of ground ginger (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor pulse the cubed fat with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and there are no lumps of fat. Add the sugar, golden syrup (or honey) pulse again for few seconds until well mixed. Add orange juice and give a few pulses until well blended and mixture appears like wet sand. Bring it out and gather together tightly until is forms a dough. Cover in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30mins - 1 hour.
  2. Cut the dough into quarters and roll out each quarter, lightly covering it with flour to stop dough sticking. Roll it out no thicker than a £1 coin (3 mm). Stamp out into desired shapes place them on lined baking sheet. Bake in pre-heated oven, fan 180˚C for 8-10 minutes. Don't over-bake them you still want them pale tan colour. Cool on wire rack.