It always interests me watching someone talk about something that they are passionate about. A person’s eyes light up and they become animated and happy. It also interests me what gets people passionate. Their child/dog/boyfriend/car/job/cause/etc. The range of human interest is as unlimited as the stars in the sky, and its funny how what incites strong feelings on one person, is often of no interest whatsoever to the person next to them. So we seek out likeminded people with whom we can discuss our passions. Fuel each others fires, remind each other of that which brings us joy.
I have a couple of passions. And like most people I am sure, my passions have changed over the years. When I was a teenager I was madly passionate about horses. Now it is running and cooking/baking that I love. Two very different things but two that turn out to be quite complimentary. I run, therefore I can eat what I bake and not become a whale.
I get excited about trying new things in both the running and the baking worlds. This week, I came across a recipe for pinwheel biscuits, that got me excited. They are different, chocolatey (alway s a good thing) and a new challenge. I remember making chocolate and vanilla pinwheel biscuits in my mom’s kitchen as a teenager, and they always turned out pretty good. They looked very pretty and impressive for the relatively simple process of making them. I haven’t made any in YEARS, so these were on my agenda for this week.
Now, the pinwheel biscuits I remember making all those years ago consisted of biscuit dough, split in half, and cocoa powder added to one half to make it delightfully chocolatey. then both pieces of dough were rolled out, one placed on top of the other, and then rolled up together to form the beautiful spiral, before being chilled and themn cut up and baked. This recipe however, is one dough, latherd with a gooey, stickey, datey filling, and then rolled up and chilled before the slicing and baking process. Now the tricky bit is that the gooey, sticky filling, makes the dough rather gooey and stickey, and the douch itself has a tendency to crumble. So once I got to the cutting up my rolls, they were a difficult combination of gooeyness and crumbliness.
Needless to say, I could not cut them as thin as I would have liked, and subsequently they did not come out nearly as pretty as I would have liked, but they tasted pretty yummy, so I won’t complain (too much). I will have to re-visit these babies again at some stage, as I do not like to be defeated, and I think that they could be greatly improved with some tweaking of the recipe. But if you’d like to try them as they are, or tweak them yourself, here is the recipe.
Chocolate Date Pinwheel Biscuits
1 egg yolk
55g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
100g macadamia/pecan/cashew/any nuts, finely ground
280g dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp orange zest
140ml fresh orange juice
30 ml water
Cream the butter and 160g of the sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5-8 mins
Add the egg yolk and beat well
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix well
Add the ground nuts and mix to form a dough
Divide the dough into 2 and wrap in cling film and chill for at least half an hour
While the dough is chilling, heat the dates, remaining sugar, orange zest, orange juice and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Then chill in the fridge until cold.
Once both the dough and the filling are chilled, roll each piece of dough out between 2 sheets of baking parchment to form a rectangle, approx 5mm thick.
Spread half of the date mixture on each dough rectangle, and roll up. Then chill the rolls for an hour.
Once the rolls are chilled, slice them (as thin as you dare) and place on greased/parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake at 200 deg C for 12-15 minutes, depending on the fierceness of your oven and the thickness of your rounds.
Cool on the baking sheets for 10 mins before moving to a wire rack to cool completely