When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.

What’s your favourite biscuit? I dabbled with Hobnobs for a while, but they seem a little smug to me, and the Tunnocks Teacake will always have a special place in my heart (although – is it a biscuit or, like the Jaffa, actually a cake? In which case, I allow myself two favourites. That’s not cheating, that’s science) – but I will always come back to the humble bourbon. A classic. And chocolate, as all biscuits will be, when I am in charge.

So, for Valentine’s day this year (oh as if I need an excuse to bake), I decided to have a go at baking my own bourbon biscuits – a little bit inspired by this giant Bourbon my boyfriend brought me home from the shops one day.

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A biscuit the size of my face. The way to my heart.

I got the ingredients from the Good Housekeeping website – seduced by the claim that all recipes are triple tested! – but as Valentine’s Day is a time of gooey love and hearts and smushy stuff, I decided to break out the old heartshape cookie cutters and personalise them a bit.

It’s a really simple recipe, and would make about 15-20 traditionally sized/shaped biscuits. As I made greedy giant sized over stuffed large biscuits, along with a few smaller ones, I got around 10-12 biscuits, and ran out of icing for the last few. No matter. An un-iced Bourbon is still a chocolate biscuit, and therefore not to be sniffed at.

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I’m a softy at heart.

You will need

For the biscuit:

250g (9oz) plain flour, plus extra to dust

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes

125g (4oz) caster sugar

2tbsp golden syrup

50g (2oz) cocoa powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

3tbsp milk

For the filling

75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

125g (4oz) icing sugar

15g (½oz) cocoa powder

1. Put all the biscuit ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough on to a work surface and bring together. If you don’t have a food processor, I think this biscuit is very similar to a shortbread – so, add the diced butter to the sieved flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda, and then rub together until you get a crumb-like mixture. Then add in the sugar, golden syrup and milk and mix in till fully incorporated. Then bring together into a dough as above

2. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper, to about 5mm thickness. Which makes some big-ass bourbon biscuits, so make it a bit thinner if you have a more delicate appetite/are more of a lady than me. Then use your cookie cutter to cut out biscuits to whatever shape you desire. Remember, the biscuits will be sandwiched together, so you need an even number. I had to re-roll out my dough a couple of times to make sure I got the most out of it. Any more than that, I think the dough will get too stick and warm, so try and fit your cookie shapes as close together as possible.

3. Place in the fridge and chill for 30min.

4. Make a cup of tea, play with the cat.

5. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4.

6. Place the biscuits on lined baking trays and bake for 20-25min, or until you realise that as you have made the biscuits different sizes, the smaller hearts are beginning to look a little burnt crispy.

7. Leave to cool completely.

8. To make the filling, put the butter into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined. This takes a good lot of effort, as it’s really thick icing (don’t be tempted to add any liquid, it’s meant to be like that). I did it by hand and started to regret it as my biceps began to ache – so if you have a hand mixer, now would be the time to use it.

9. Sandwich the cooled biscuits together with the chocolate filling, using a piping bag if you want a neater finish. Or, like me, your fingers. That icing really is thick.

10. Repeat step 4, with added biscuits.

Today’s quote is from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

 

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To do list 5: On the other hand, you have different fingers

Oh dear, I seem to be slowing down on completing my crafty to-do list. However, I finally got around to finishing the three pairs of fingerless gloves I’d planned for my three closest friends for Christmas. Luckily for me the first chance we had to all get together was at the end of January, which gave me some much needed bonus time on the needles. But hey, better late than never, right?

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The fingerless gloves in all their glory. Spot the deliberate mistakes.

I got the pattern from a book my sister got me for last year’s birthday (I feel bad, she didn’t get a pair herself) – and knitted the gloves up pretty quickly (my issue was with picking up the needles to knit, not the knitting itself)using some dk wool from John Lewis. Three balls in 3 different colours were enough to make 2 pairs of gloves – in fact I think there would be enough to make 2 pairs with to balls of yarn, as long as you swap around the colour contrasts.

This is how they’re meant to look.

It’s a really straightforward pattern – the two ends are in 2×2 rib, and it’s a simple stocking stitch for around 15cm in the middle. It’s knit flat, then sewn together with mattress stitch. You probably can’t tell from the pictures, but only one of those pairs went to plan – I sewed up one of the purple pair inside out so now the seam is on the outside, and the blue pair I somehow managed to knit upside down. Ah well. My friends seem pretty happy with them!

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So back to the to-do list. What shall I tackle next?

Today’s quote is from Steven Wright.

You know what I like about rich kids? BAM! Nothing.

After this fantastic gif-set of all the Chrismukkahs crossed my path over Christmas, I firmly declared on Twitter that my new year’s resolution would be to rewatch The O.C.

I know, right? Lofty aspirations are not really my thing.

So with a new kitten on my lap and a long wait in for a furniture delivery ahead of me, I settled in with season 1. And boy, is it as good (better?) than I remember. Marissa’s still as whiny and annoying as she ever was – but hey, at least her troubles with alcohol and drugs are authentically grimy and dangerous – there she is getting proper passed out wasted, not just “having a few drinks, being disapproved of, then seeing the error of her ways” like we used to see in American teen drama. And Ryan – I never appreciated this before, but the guy gives amazing side eye. I might have to try and incorporate this into my reaction repertoire.

And of course there’s Seth and Summer. The world’s perfect couple. Although I do want to be Kirsten and Sandy when I grow up.

I can barely put into words how much I loved this show when it first aired (on T4 – remember that? Remember Steve Jones and the Schwartz Report?) – I mean, I was long out of high school and old enough to know better, but years after it ended I still found myself sighing and saying to those around me “I miss The O.C.”, like it was an old friend, rather than just a smart-ass TV show with an above average soundtrack (“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” remains the only U2 record that I think will survive the cull, when the cull comes, and all due to the fact it appeared in this show.)

This is a new year’s resolution I’m really going to enjoy keeping. What TV shows do you want to revisit this year?

Five people that win… January

1 & 2. Tina and Amy.

3. Drunk Sherlock.

4. Luisa Omeilan

wwbd

We went to Luisa’s show “What Would Beyonce Do?!” earlier this month at the Soho Theatre – I didn’t write about it at the time, because we went on her last day (although I believe she’s doing a special one-off Valentine’s show). WWBD?! is a hilarious – and sometimes moving – look at her life, and a particularly hard break-up, as soundtracked by Queen Bey. With some excellent booty-shaking thrown in for good measure. Athough you may no longer be able to see this one, keep an eye out for her future shows as she’s definitely worth checking out!

5. Maeby.

Last, but not least, we welcomed a new member of the family last week. Here’s Maeby  (named after the girl in Arrested Development)

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