In collaboration with Ciao Gusto
For what will (probably!) be my last post before Christmas, here’s a recipe for a fun and festive vegan baking project. These jammy biscuits could either be served alongside an Italian ice-cream sundae for an alternative Christmas dessert (see below), or if you’ve already consumed your 99th mince pie of the season and just can’t face another, these would be a welcome treat for visiting friends and family in the run up to the big day.
The biscuit dough is actually a shortbread, which makes them melt-in-the-mouth crumbly, and I used some top-quality Italian cherry jam for the filling, (more on that later).
Who knew that Italians made such incredible dairy-free ice cream? I didn’t, (though its no surprise I guess, as they are so good at ‘gelato’), but I recently came across the Italian brand Valsoia who make a variety of vegan ice creams, tubs, ice cream sandwiches and chocolate-covered ice cream lollies. They are all incredibly good, no one would ever guess they were free-from anything.
This vegan ice cream brand was one of my favourite finds from the new Italian food and drink shop Ciao Gusto at Ocado. For the first time, a simple tab on the Ocado site brings together over 30 of Italy’s most popular brands, so you can discover new and exciting authentic Italian ingredients – just like I did.
Brands include familiar names such as Valsoia, Ponti, Barilla, Cirio, Lavazza, Santa Rosa and Riso Gallo as well as lots of exciting products new to the UK. You can find Ciao Gusto at Ocado here, or you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.
These were some of my favourite finds – that lovely Valsoia Cherry & Cream Soya Ice Cream and Fabbri Amarena Fruit & Syrup which make up my quick and easy sundae pictured above, with a sprinkle of toasted flaked almonds and one of the shortbread star offcuts on the top.
The Fruit & Syrup is some deliciously dark cherries – which have an amazing texture, quite chewy, in a rich and heavy syrup, and would be great in so many quick desserts. They taste so Italian, I can’t put my finger on why, but what a treat.
And the Santa Rosa cherry jam is excellent too – I think the Italians just make such excellent quality food, and it is great to be able to get hold of it so easily alongside your grocery order like this.
Look how easy it is to make these jammy biscuits! That’s my 4-year old’s hand ‘helping’ to cut them out in the picture above, (he made some Batman-shaped ones too, but I didn’t think they were festive enough to include in the photos!!).
A little pile of these in a cellophane bag tied up with ribbon would make the loveliest end-of-term gift for teachers, a bit more thoughtful than a shop-bought box of chocolates.
- 125 g dairy-free margarine
- 60 g caster sugar (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
- 70 g rice flour
- pinch salt
- 125 g plain flour
- cherry jam
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F / Gas Mark 3.
Beat together the margarine and sugar until fluffy (for at least a minute), then add the rice flour and salt, and beat again.
Add the plain flour, and mix slowly until just combined into a crumbly dough. (It won't really hold together at this stage, but don't panic!).
Cover two baking trays with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough to around the thickness of a £1 coin. Use a star shaped cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can, placing them on the baking trays. Then roll the offcuts together and re-roll and cut again. Continue until all the dough has been used up. Then use a smaller star shaped cutter to cut 'windows' out of half the biscuits, and carefully remove the centres.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the 'window' biscuits, and press it gently into the dough. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, with the whole stars on the upper shelf and the 'window' stars on the lower shelf. Don't let them brown - they should stay fairly pale, you can check the bottom of the whole stars to make sure they are cooked through. Remove and place on a cooling rack.
When the biscuits are completely cool, spoon around 1 tsp jam onto each of the whole stars and spread near to the edges with a knife. Place one of the window stars on top and dust with a little icing sugar if you wish.
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later, or to share with friends → → → → →
For more festive recipes from The Veg Space, click here to browse my Christmas recipes archives, (and make sure you’re following The Veg Space on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with all my latest recipes!)
There are lots of quick and easy recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15‘*. Hop over to Amazon for a look. Thanks for your support!
I’m linking this recipe with the blogging challenge CookBlogShare hosted this week by Hijacked by Twins
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ciao Gusto. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Veg Space going!