I started off by wanting to make some simply gorgeous looking biscuits that I stumbled across on a German blog - Teatime. Specifically, these biscuits. It's been a long time since I've tested my rusty German, but I thought that translating what seemed like a fairly simple recipe would not tax my Deutschkenntnisse (command of German) ;)
I could have been wrong, though. The recipe as such was simple as simple can be, but I'm not sure if I got the proportions quite right. Also, some cross-cultural nuances didnt quite make it through - I mean, how much exactly is "1/2 Päckchen Backpulver"? I figured it should be about 1 tsp baking powder, so that's how much I used.
Apart from that, since I didnt have Gouda or Emmental cheese at hand, I used Mature Cheddar. And since I couldnt find my black cumin seeds anywhere (I confess I didnt look very hard), I used kalonji (nigella seeds) instead. So by the time I'd finished substituting the ingredients called for in the recipe with what I had at hand, I realised that only my desire to try out the original actually remained unchanged. Well, they say it's the thought that counts...
Anyway, as I was saying, I might have got the proportions of the oil-butter combination wrong, because my dough was alarmingly drippy by the time I'd mixed it all together. Ok, it was mostly healthy olive oil with about a tbsp of butter, but still, it seemed one heck of a lot of the stuff for the amount of dough there was. I've reduced the oil content in the following recipe by about a third.
The biscuits turned out pretty tasty, though (and why wouldnt they with so much oil to work with!). I only used about 1 tbsp of kalonji, but I'd probably increase it to 2-3 tbsp, as their flavour ended up quite mild. Then again, I used sharp mature Cheddar, which is way more overpowering than mild Emmentaler cheese. I guess experimentation is the name of the game!
Recipe for: Savoury Cheddar cheese biscuits
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp nigella seeds
1/3 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
100-150 gm Cheddar cheese, grated
1 whole egg + 1 separated (add eggwhite to dough, use yolk for brushing biscuits before baking)
1 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
1. Beat the separated eggyolk lightly and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, nigella seeds, olive oil and butter, cheese, whole egg and the egg white along with salt to make a smooth dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes covered.
4. Roll out the dough on a clean surface (use silicone paper to make rolling out and cleaning up easy) and cut out round shapes with a biscuit cutter. Re-roll out the remaining dough and proceed the same way until the dough it used up.
5. Transfer the circles to a silicone paper-lined baking tray. The biscuits wont spread so 1/2" space between them is enough. Lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg yolk.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven, or until the biscuits are golden. Let cool in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and let them cool completely.
The biscuits make a nice snack, and they can also be served with soup.