This recipe, inspired by my post about the Great English Bible of 1541, was a little bit a challenge for me. It took me several tries to get it right, in terms of handling the dough and making them look right. I also believe the translation in the book I’ve been using, Tudor Cookery: Recipes and History was incorrect in terms of the amount of some of the ingredients.
Nonetheless, I really loved these. This is a sweet biscuit, meant more for breakfast, in my opinion. It has a taste unlike any other bread or biscuit I’ve ever had before! Its made with aniseed, which gives it a black licorice flavor. This is a great conversation starter, particularly for bread lovers.
The original recipe comes from The good huswifes Jewell, pt. 2, published in 1596, but was translated in the book I used called Tudor Cookery: Recipes and History by Peter Brears. The Brears version calls for 6 ounces of flour, which is three quarters of a cup. This creates a dough that is like runny cookie dough… completely sticky and unworkable. I believe I have corrected the amount of flour, ( I think he really meant 16 ounces-possible typo?) which creates a biscuit that gets crisp and brown on the outside and chewy on the inside.
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon of aniseed or caraway
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl, then beat in the sugar, aniseed or caraway, and finally the flour, forming a stiff dough.
Knead the flour on a lightly floured board and form into rolls, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and about 4 inches long. Take two of these lengths and twist them together to form a knot, pressing the ends together to prevent unraveling.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Plunge 3-4 knotted biscuits into the water at a time. At first, they’ll sink to the bottom of the pot. Leave them alone for about 30 seconds. Then using a slotted spoon, dislodge them from the bottom of the pan and let them float and swell for about a minute or two. Lift them out and drain them on a tea towel for about five minutes.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment, then spray lightly with cooking spray.
Once the oven is heated, transfer the biscuits to the parchment. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the biscuits and bake them again for another 10-15 minutes until they are golden. Serve and enjoy!