Thursday, 2 January 2014

Monte Carlos

These biscuits were first described to me by a good friend who had travelled to visit relatives living in Australia. She was very fortunate to have an Australian sister-in-law who loved baking and did a lot of it whilst she was over visiting.

On relaying tales of her travels in the Southern Hemisphere, Maria mentioned these biscuits to me and given that I love the combination of coconut and raspberry, I was determined to make them. After some tweaking, but still remaining true to the essential characteristics of Monte Carlo biscuits, this is the recipe that I came up with. The vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam taste so wonderful with the crumbly coconut biscuits – they are a real treat! I also like the biscuits on their own and in fact they remind me in flavour terms of Jacob’s Polo biscuits which are popular here in Ireland.
 
Having carried out some research I am unable to determine where the biscuits got their name from, but being prone to regular romanticised musings on such things, I like to believe that they were named after the French principality made famous by the Grimaldis and the very glamorous Grace Kelly.
 
The unfilled biscuits keep well for up to a week if stored in an air-tight tin.
 

Ingredients:

185g butter, softened
110g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
185g self-raising flour
110g plain flour
40g desiccated coconut
Vanilla buttercream:
50g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste/extract
1 tsp milk
To finish:
60g raspberry jam
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.
2. Place the butter, brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl and then, using a hand-held electric mixer beat together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla paste/extract and beat again to incorporate.
3. Sieve the plain and self-raising flours together and then add the desiccated coconut. Work the flours and coconut into the creamed egg and butter mixture using a wooden spoon. Do not add all of the flour mixture at once but rather do it in two/three stages as it is much easier to do.
4. Roll rounded teaspoons of the mixture in your hands to create an oval shape. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 4cms apart and flatten slightly with your palms until they are about ¾cm thick. Gently rough the surface of each biscuit with a fork.
5. Bake biscuits in the preheated oven for about 14-15 minutes until just beginning to colour at the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for about five minutes before removing from the baking trays. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.
Vanilla buttercream:
6. Using a hand-held electric mixer beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla paste/extract together until smooth. Add the milk and beat well to fully incorporate.
To finish:
7. Sandwich pairs of the biscuits together with a layer of vanilla buttercream and a layer of raspberry jam.

Makes 25 sandwiched biscuits.