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FRANCES' BISCUIT PLANTERS & TIFFIN SEEDLINGS
10 April 2014
You will need a plastic seedling tray with 2” pots, cut down to create 8 pots or 2 x 4 2” pots.
125g slightly salted butter, softened
125g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
300g dark chocolate
125g slightly salted butter
25g golden syrup
1 vanilla pod-optional
pinch of salt-optional
1 Multipack of sesame snaps-120g
100g seeded granola
100g mixed seeds-sunflower, pumpkin, flax seed
100g biscuits, using the biscuit planters
Extras: Cocoa powder or a little dark chocolate or chocolate biscuits, grated, blitzed or crumbled up to create the top soil!
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Cream together the butter and sugar, then gradually beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift and stir in the flour and mix to a fairly soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Cover or wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least an hour or preferably overnight.
When ready, weigh out and remove 100g of the dough, this will be used to create the biscuits in the tiffin seedlings.
Roll this dough out on a lightly floured surface to around 0.5cm thick and cut up into pieces and transfer on to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Don't worry about the biscuits looking anything special as once baked they will broken up!
Roll out the remainder of the dough, again on a lightly floured surface and cut into planter shapes with a scalpel, pizza cutter or sharp knife using a planter or paper template as a guide. I find cutting lots of strips and then cutting their end into a triangular shape before making a hole with the tip of a paintbrush the most efficient way. Transfer the biscuits on to a baking tray lined with baking parchment bake and you have a letter embosser then now's the time to press in your own bespoke planter label text. Bake both sets of biscuits in the oven for approx 5-10 minutes until the biscuits edges turn lightly golden in colour. Once out of the oven leave the biscuits on the baking tray to cool.
Toast your seeds lightly in a frying pan or baking tray in the oven and allow to cool. It's not a necessity but really does bring out the flavours of the seeds.
Put the cooled 100g of biscuits and sesame snaps in a large plastic food bag and wrap in a tea towel before bashing them with a rolling pin. You are aiming for a mix of crumbs and larger bit of biscuit to give your tiffin a varying texture and crunch.
Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Once melted stir in the seeds from a scraped out vanilla pod and pinch of salt if using. If you do use a vanilla pod, be sure not to throw the pod away but instead place it in some sugar to create your own vanilla sugar with, ready to create more biscuit planters with next time.
Fold through the biscuit and sesame snap pieces, granola and toasted seeds into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan. Place your seedling tray that's been cut down to create 8 holed pots on to a flat baking tray or sat in a swiss roll tin. Divide and transfer the tiffin mixture between the pots and level the surfaces off slightly with a spoon. Grate, blitz or crumble up your chocolate or chocolate biscuits and scatter over the seedlings while still warm but not so hot the chocolate will melt, to create the impression of top toil. If you prefer and have no chocolate or biscuits to hand, dust the tiffin with cocoa powder once set to create a slightly finer looking soil effect! Refrigerate for approx 2 hours or overnight.
Once set you can remove/de pot the tiffin from their trays and place in your tiffin tin-you will be able to fit 4 in each compartment together with your biscuit planters. You can cut your tray in half with scissors giving you a square of 4 pots and place these in your tiffin tin while still in their trays. To serve I love to enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee and dunk the pointed end of your biscuit planter in your brew before planting it in your tiffin seedling pot. The heat from your drink should ensure the biscuit melts and adheres to the chocolate tiffin resulting in it staying upright as seen in the photo.
Granola makes a lovely addition to the tiffin and you can easily buy a shop bought one containing seeds from most supermarkets. However I like to create my own jam packed with seeds and it looks great stored in the Joules Garden Trading storage jars.
Guest blog by Frances Quinn