I have been avidly following the current series of the Great British Bake Off and one of your favourites is Mary Anne. Lovely big home-style baking - the Ploughman's loaf in particular looks fab!
Mary Anne has a blog - Time to Cook - and has been posting up some of her competition recipes including the lovely looking Melting Moments from the biscuits episode.
The recipe is here so I'm not going to copy it out for the blog. I thought the biscuits came out reasonably well, although we had some interesting moments along the way. Essentially it was a two-handed experiment again - I made the biscuits and Leigh made the (quite fabulous) depression-era buttercream.
So for the biscuits, I started off on the wrong foot I think by using butter from the fridge rather than at room temperature! I microwaved it for about 10 seconds to soften and then beat it in the Kitchen Aid with the icing sugar for the full 5 minutes. It felt very soft at the end of the 5 minutes, certainly soft enough to pipe, but then I added the flour and cornflour and the whole thing ended up just far too stiff to pipe. So, note to self, start with butter at room temperature!
Leigh suggested adding some milk to the mix which I did and it did soften enough to pipe reasonably. The next hurdle was that I couldn't see any indication on the blog post as to how big the biscuits should be. So I guessed, drew round an egg cup and then when I found I was barely going to get 15 biscuits out of it rather than the 24 suggested by the recipe, that I must have been going too big! Never mind, into the oven and they looked good coming out, although on eating later we found that some of them had not cooked through completely, and that they perhaps weren't as crisp as they should have been - all probably due to the issues with the mix and that they're bigger than Mary Anne's obviously were.
But, not disasterous. Leigh made the buttercream, which to be honest looked iffy after the cooking stage, but once it had been whipped up for 10 minutes, looked fab and tasted lovely. It was left in the fridge overnight as I wasn't going to put them together til the next day.
We sandwiched with the buttercream and lemon curd (delish!), although had I been patient and waited for the buttercream to soften out of the fridge before trying to spread it on the biscuits, I could probably have got more in - as it was, at least half the mix was left (not that anyone ate any of it with a spoon from the mixing bow.l or anything...).
I have got a photo to put on, although not to hand at the mo. But I was quite pleased with the first attempt - and there's certainly lots to work on for the next batch!