I appear to have somehow ended up dating a man who doesn't have a sweet tooth. I mean- seriously?!
He knows I love to bake, and he appreciates basically anything I make for him- he's a massive foodie. But given the choice, he'd always pick a starter over a pudding, salted popcorn over sweet, and crisps over chocolate.
So when my original Valentine's Day gift for him went slightly awry- I accidentally had it shipped to Devon, rather than my London address- I decided that I would bake something for him. Normally, I'd have done some kind of brownies- maybe with caramel and pecan, or chilli, or with a peanut butter swirl- but bearing in mind A's propensity to pick the savoury over the sweet, I decided to branch out slightly.
I actually don't do a lot of savoury baking. Pastry- yes, but I'm just as comfortable working with sweet shortcrust as I am plain. Scones- I'm a plain-with-cream-and-jam girl. But savoury biscuits are so simple, and these are so good, that I'm pleased A's weird tastes won out. And it was a double bonus that I had all the ingredients for these to hand, particularly considering I was suffering with a ridiculous hangover after a few too many drinks with my work colleagues the night before.
These are excellent to the point that I'm now going to make them at every opportunity- they're going to become my new staple hostess gift, presented in a pretty jar alongside a hunk of cheese and maybe some chutney. Because you should absolutely serve these with cheese- preferably Mayfield or Delice de Bourgogne, which are our new favourites. The Mayfield works well with a fig chutney, but the Delice de Bourgogne should be left to sing on its own- and sing it does. Honestly, the stuff is incredible.
And a note on ingredients. I'm not usually wildly prescriptive- much more a "use what you have" kinda girl. But for these, whatever you do do not use plain white flour. It will make for the most boring biscuits ever, and it's just not worth it. Spelt flour is great, but if you have rye or even just wholemeal flour to hand, I'm sure they'd work well too. I'm now trying to think up variations too- I think wholemeal flour with chopped walnuts would be excellent, or maybe even adding in some sundried tomatoes and parmesan. Hmm.
Spelt and Seed Biscuits (makes around 20)
150g spelt flour
100g mixed seeds
85g salted butter
2-3 tbsp water
Rub the butter into the flour in the same way you would if you were making a crumble- that is to say, until it looks kind of like breadcrumbs. Stir through the seeds to distribute evenly. Then add 2-3 tablespoonfuls of water slowly to pull the mixture together into a dough.
Dust a (clean..!) work surface with a little extra spelt flour, and roll the dough out- you want it to be about half a centimeter thick. Then cut out into rounds (or stars, hearts, gingerbread men...), pulling the dough back together and re-rolling to use it all up.
Space out on lined baking trays (I got about seven on each- they don't spread much but do space them apart) and bake at 180C for around 10 minutes.
Allow to cool, and either top with cheese and eat them immediately, or package into pretty jars to give as presents. They keep well for a few days in an airtight jar, if they last as long as that.