Just to clarify upfront, for the sake of simplicity I’m going to call them biscuits from now on since that’s the term we use in Australia (and UK).
I’ll admit now that I’m not a massive biscuit fan. My husband loves indulging in a chocolate chip creation whenever we go past a bakery but to be honest I’ve always been a bigger fan of cakes and tarts.
Biscuits can be categorised under any manner of criteria including the mixing method (sanding, creaming, sponge, one-stage) or texture (chewy, crunchy, crisp, soft).
According to Michel Suas, there are eight classifications of biscuits which is based on the formation and portioning of the dough:
- Dropped – generally made from thicker dough, these biscuits are portioned out using a scoop or spoon. Examples include chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.
- Piped – made from softer dough, they are portioned using a piping bag and often decoratively shaped such as spritz cookies and sables a la poche.
- Cut-out – a similar dough to dropped biscuits, cut-outs involve stamping out shapes from rolled out dough such as sugar or gingerbread biscuits.
- Sheet – these biscuits are baked on a sheet pan, then portioned out individually afterwards. Think brownies, lemon bars and granola bars.
- Sliced – the dough is baked as a long piece, then sliced afterwards and sometimes dried out in the oven again. The most well-known example is biscotti which literally translates to “twice-baked”.
- Icebox – dough is rolled out into a cylinder or block, then refrigerated, sliced and baked.
- Stencil – typically thin and crispy, these biscuits are often used as a garnish on plated dessert such as tuiles. The batter is spread free-form or onto a template and then baked.
- Moulded – often using the sanding method, the most common type of moulded biscuit is shortbread.
So, over the course of the next couple of months I will be attacking each of these in no particular order as well as the dreaded Parisian macarons.
You never know, by the end of this section of my “curriculum” I could be converted.