43. GBBO: Biscuit Week

I’m a bit behind with my Bake Off bake along but I’m getting there!


For Biscuit week I followed the recipes from the show, which can be found here. I did two of the bakes from biscuit week; Norman’s Farthing Biscuits which were his Signature Bake and Mary Berry’s Florentines... half-florentines. Kind of.


The Farthing biscuits were not what I expected, or maybe I just made them wrong. They were very similar to Cornish Wafers. Really dry but flaky. I suppose they fit the challenge as I think they would have been perfect with cheese. Norman’s recipe notes that they should be enjoyed with butter, so that is what I did.


The Florentines (half-florentines) were a bit of a nightmare. The first batch came out like little volcanos, delicious volcanos, but volcano’s none the less. There was no lace like biscuit as Mary would have expected. If that really was my Technical Challenge I would have failed.


Apart from being volcanos they were also a disaster because I could not get them off the baking paper. The recipe definitely said to line baking sheets with baking parchment but I could not for the life of me get them off.


Take two. Much much much better. In my break of frustration after the first batch I whizzed over to iPlayer to rewatch the bakers on their challenge. They all used baking parchment as far as I could see but didn’t seem to have any difficulties. I recently bought my baking sheets and when I had used them for the Farthing biscuits had no issues getting the biscuits straight off the raw sheet. For round two of Harleigh vs. Mary Berry’s Florentines I put the mix straight on the tray and they came off! Hurray!


In my second batch I made a few other changes. I made sure I chopped the nuts super fine because I thought that the reason they didn’t spread the first time was because the nut bits were too chunky to move. I also flattened my teaspoons of mixture out a bit on the tray as I noticed that’s what Martha did. They came out wonderfully and then…


My food thermometer was broken. It was silly really because I knew it was broken the last time I went to use it so why did I put it back in the cupboard and allow my brain to think it would be fine? The little naked florentines also just kept jumping in my mouth as they cooled so I decided, no chocolate. Hence, half-florentines. I’m not sure if they’re still a Florentine without chocolate but I assume they aren’t.

I think it would be much more fun if the BBC GBBO posted the Technical Challenge recipes in the version the baking contestants get them. Even though I had much of a disaster first time round with this one it could be interesting to see what baking knowledge I really have when there are gaps.

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Harleigh Reid
Harleigh Reid

I write about food and eat a lot.

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