A lot of people who bake have certain failsafe recipes that they fall back on again and again; mine include a Lemon Drizzle cake my mum introduced me to, my grandmother’s Christmas Cake, and the chocolate Fork Biscuits known in my house as Idiot Biscuits.
Fork Biscuits are incredibly easy to make, and are a great way to introduce children to baking. They are also cheap, fast, and can be made using as little as three ingredients. A large part of what brings me back to them again and again is that their unfussy recipe can easily be adapted into something new whenever the occasion arises. A hankering for Millies Cookies (a cosmopolitan treat only available in the shopping malls and train stations of large cities at the time – and still not available in Plymouth in 2018, unless you fancy the frozen version, which I somehow never do) led me to create an Apple and Cinnamon Cookie recipe which I still use to this day.
These little mouthfuls of sunshine aren’t strictly Fork Biscuits as they I didn’t use a fork to flatten them or to give the distinctive tine pattern (I used the bottom of a cup instead), however they are based upon the traditional recipe.
The use of icing is new as well. I wanted to really drive home the honey and lemon flavours, which are rather delicate in the cookie itself, without overpowering the original taste. They work very nicely without it though, so if the thought of honey lemon icing sounds a bit too sweet for your palate, feel free to leave them plain.
Without the icing they are almost Shortbready in taste, however the texture is far lighter. These fall on the ‘cakey’ side of the cookie spectrum, although they are still crumbly rather than chewy. Best of all, they are a matter of moments to make, mere minutes to bake, and are delightful with a cup of tea.
Makes: 12 small cookies
4oz / 100g unsalted butter
1oz / 25g caster sugar
2 tbsp clear (runny) honey
5oz / 150g self raising flour
Zest of half a lemon
2oz / 50g icing sugar
1 tsp clear (runny) honey
2 – 4 tsps lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Lightly grease a baking tray.
Cream together your butter (or margarine, I really won’t judge) with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the honey, and mix until it’s all combined.
There are two possible ways to measure the honey. One is to heat your teaspoon on the hob, or in a cup of boiling water, and use it to very quickly and cleanly scoop out your honey and drop it into your bowl. The other is to invest in a squeezy bottle of the stuff, and add two small squirts.
Sift in the flour, and mix until smooth. Once combined, add the lemon zest and stir through.
Divide the mixture into twelve small balls, rolling between your palms briefly to give them shape. Place on the baking tray, at least one inch apart. Use the base of a clean glass or mug to lightly press them to flatten the top – be careful not to squash them completely – you want them to be about half an inch (just over a centimetre) tall.
If the glass sticks, dust the base with a little icing sugar.
Bake in the centre of the oven for twelve minutes, or until just golden at the edges. Allow to cool for five minutes on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While they are cooling, combine the icing sugar with the honey and stir well. Add the lemon juice until the icing reaches a sticky pouring consistency. Have your half of a lemon on hand, just in case you need any more. Once the biscuits are cooled, drizzle the icing over the top. Sprinkle over any left over lemon zest.
Downloadable PDF: Honey Lemon Cookies