homestyle shrewsbury’s & reminiscing

Recently I have been reflecting, remembering, reminiscing. It’s funny how when life starts to get away on you and time seems to zoom by, that you start to reflect. Perhaps I feel nostalgic about leaving behind my childhood, or perhaps some smell, or taste just took me back to those days in my mind. It’s amazing how food can have that power.

I have memories of coming home from school, most days, to biscuits – as we call them here in New Zealand (did you know American’s will think we are talking about scones here?)- for afternoon tea. Not homemade ones. Well sometimes mum made Sante Biscuits from the Edmond’s Cookbook, but most often, we had storebought Griffin’s. My favourites were Schrewbury’s, and Hundred’s and Thousands. I just loved them. And sometimes, sometimes we got the best of both worlds by making Hundreds and Thousands out of Shrewsbury’s. Mum would set us up with icing and sprinkles and we would decorate the tops of our favourite little jam filled biscuit with pink icing and colourful balls of goodness. And we loved it. Easily pleased? Perhaps.

But, you see, things must have changed. I don’t think I have eaten a storebought biscuit in years. Yes, sometimes a bag of Farmhouse Cookies appear at a get-together, but I am rarely tempted to eat one. I guess tastes change, and once you have lived off everything-homemade it’s hard to go back to commercial.

But sometimes, sometimes I have little twinges for these childhood favourites. I just want to return to that place of carelessness, with Shrewbury’s and milk and What Now on TV.

These homestyle shrewsbury’s are pretty far from Griffins. I mean, Griffin’s aren’t “New Zealand’s Favourite Biscuits” for no reason. But they come close. And they were a joy to make. And, best of all, they are de la casa.

Homestyle Shrewsbury’s

You can’t get much simpler than this.

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Strawberry jam (homemade is far superior – I used my Oregano Infused Strawberry Jam for these)

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 177˚C and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out rounds using a lightly floured cutter and transfer biscuits to baking sheet. Cut out heart, circle or star centres from half of the rounds. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked biscuits in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents them from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let biscuits cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Spread strawberry jam over the bottoms and place a hearted/starred/circled round on top.

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