I’m always up for a challenge, so when Potter’s got in touch to see if I was interested in trying their malt extract and re-creating a festive recipe, of course I accepted. They provided the recipe, which replaces refined sugar with the malt alternative, which I adapted slightly to make the biscuits wheat and dairy-free (note that malt extract is NOT gluten-free).
I used malt extract years ago and to be honest, it’s not something I’ve considered in my healthy baking – which is mad considering it contains amino acids, vitamin B and is an easily digestible protein. A popular refined sugar substitute in bread, cakes and general cooking, or taken by the spoonful as part of a balanced diet, it has a distinct flavour which works particularly well with ginger, dried fruit or caramel-based recipes.
So, onto the recipe: ‘The biscuit dough is very versatile with an open structure and slightly risen finish. For an added treat, why not stir chopped dark chocolate into the dough and bake as below.’ I made mine into stacked gingerbread men because 1) I didn’t have any other biscuit cutters and 2) I haven’t made any yet!
- 100g unsalted butter [I used Pure dairy-free spread]
- 50g Potter’s Herbals malt extract
- 3 tbsp agave syrup [Say no to agave! I used Meridian maple syrup]
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 medium egg
- 275g self raising flour [I used 1/2 Dove’s Farm gluten-free flour + 1/2 oat flour]
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder [I used Superroot cacao powder]
- Beat the butter, malt extract and agave syrup [maple syrup] with an electric whisk, until softened and smooth. Beat in the vanilla essence and the egg with a spoonful of flour until combined. Beat in half the flour then stir in the remaining flour, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas 4. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper.
- Roll out the dough to 1cm thickness and stamp out shapes with a star cookie cutter. If you have 3 different sizes of cutter that will work best for when you shape into trees. Cut 10 large stars, 10 medium stars and 10 small stars and place onto the baking sheets. Cook for 8 minutes. The small ones will need about 2 minutes less time. [I used my large and small gingerbread men cutters.]
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Pile the stars onto one another to make Christmas trees (I made 5), holding in place with the cookie glue [icing sugar + water; I used a little malt extract]. Dust with the icing sugar for a snowy effect.
- I decorated half of mine with Sweet Freedom’s Orange Spice Choc Shot and diced crystalised ginger; the other with some edible gold glitter and dried cranberries.
The verdict!? Easy to make, tasty and visually appealing festive treats which would certainly go down well with little ones – get them involved! Thanks to Potter’s for inviting me to be part of this. Happy baking!