When Shari and I went to Sydney in 2016, we hung out with our Australian friends, Rachel and Richard, who recommended several classic Australian treats for us to try. This is the one that I came home and made. They are shortbread cookies and the icing makes them. Dr. Al’ai, one of our emergency physicians, went crazy over them, saying they were just like a cookie he remembers from his childhood in the Philippines.
For the biscuits:
1 cup unsalted butter, 250gm, at room temperature
1/2 cup, powdered sugar, 80 gm
2 cups all-purpose flour, 250 gm
1/2 cup custard powder, 80 gm. *see notes
For the buttercream:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, 160 gm ** see notes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking trays with parchment.
2. To make the biscuit dough:
3. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until combined.
4. Sift flour and custard powder into the butter mixture. Mix gently until the dry ingredients are fully absorbed into the butter mixture to form a dough.
5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 15 mins. If the dough is too soft to roll, place it in the fridge instead and allow it to rest for 15-30 mins or until the dough is slightly firm (but not too firm.) (I found refrigeration to be unnecessary.)
6. Scoop mixture into 1 tablespoon balls.
Place on prepared trays and press down with the back of a fork.
Bake for about 15 mins or until their edges are light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for about 10 mins. Transfer onto a wire rack and allow the biscuits to cool completely.
7. While the biscuits are cooling, make the buttercream. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
8. When biscuits are cooled completely, sandwich two biscuits (back to back) with a dollop of buttercream in the middle.
Originally from the book, Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWA): Biscuits and Slices, contributed by Alisa Bond from Riverside Branch Tasmania.
* I bought Bird’s Custard Powder online from Amazon Prime but Rachel told me she saw it at Whole Foods. Also note that Corine, our daughter’s mother-in-law, from Canada, says this is the key to perfect Nanaimo Bars!
** I alway sift my powdered sugar when making icing. It is just easier to get it smooth.