Show cook Janet Macdonald has been making yoyos since she was in primary school, but her early attempts bore little resemblance to the dainty, perfectly shaped morsels she makes today.
Macdonald is a show competition veteran, and her buttery biscuits, also known as melting moments in some places, have consistently won her first prizes and even best exhibit for more than 20 years.
Her recipe published here is from The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook, by Adelaide Hills author Liz Harfull. Released this Wednesday, it features 70 recipes – from scones and jelly slice, to sausage rolls and pumpkin damper – supplied by Australian show cooks. The book also includes short stories about the recipe contributors, as well as tips from show judges.
170g butter, softened
60g (1/2 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
170g cream of tartar self-raising cake and biscuit flour*
60g custard powder
240 g pure icing sugar
120 g butter, softened
1 Preheat the oven to very slow (120°C). Grease two baking trays.
2 Cream the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
3 Sift together the flour and custard powder, then stir into the creamed mixture in small batches until a soft dough forms.
4 Roll small teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and place about 4cm apart on the prepared trays. Press flat gently with a fork. Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until a very pale golden colour. Monitor the oven closely, and after about 45 minutes turn the trays around.
5 Let the biscuits sit on the trays for a minute or two to cool slightly, and then use a spatula to lift them onto a wire rack to cool.
6 To make the butter icing, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, add the butter and beat until smooth and well combined.
7 When the biscuits are cool, join the bases together in pairs with the butter icing.
Makes about 20 yoyos.
Tips from the cook
- If you cannot buy a soft, low-protein self-raising cake and biscuit flour made with cream of tartar, make your own by sifting together 150g (1 cup) of good-quality cake or biscuit plain flour, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
- You may need to put a tray in the bottom of the oven to help deflect the heat and make surel the bases of your biscuits do not brown too much.
- The cooking time is essential to achieve the right dry, short and fine texture, without over-colouring the biscuit.
- To check if the biscuits are cooked, flip one over and press the base with your finger. If it is starting to firm, take it out and put it in the freezer for a minute or two to cool rapidly. If it is hard, the biscuits are done.
- When joining the biscuits, line up the fork marks on the two halves so they are running in the same direction.
Tips from the judges
- The main colour in the biscuit should come from the custard powder, with only the slightest tint added during cooking.
- Your collection of biscuits should be uniform in size and colour.
- The two halves should fit neatly together.
- The biscuits should be perfectly round, with a thin layer of icing that is neat at the edges.
- The biscuits should cut easily with a sharp knife and produce very little crumb.
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