These crispy, sweet flat breads are incredibly moreish and every so easy to fall in love with. Ever since I first tried them in Spain several years ago I get regular cravings for them. You can get them over here but they're so expensive that they're difficult to justify. However, I have recently found out how to make them for myself and I can't believe how simple they are. With a straight forward method and cheap ingredients there's no doubting that these tasty treats are going to be making a regular appearance in my house. If you can get your head around a simple bread dough you'll have no difficulty with these. The literal translation is 'oil cakes' but that doesn't sound as good as the Spanish original. My understanding of their history is that they are a traditional sweet from Seville in southern Spain but are now enjoyed all over the world.
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Step 1: Ingredients
These quantities give you around 22 biscuits
100ml of olive oil
large pieces of lemon zest from a whole lemon (or equivalent amount of orange/clementine/tangerine zest)
1 tbsp aniseed (I couldn't get hold of any so used fennel seeds - I reckon you could also use fresh or dried rosemary for a different but equally yummy flavour combo)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
360g plain flour
20g fresh yeast*
80ml warm water
20ml anise (I used ouzo but use what aniseed flavoured alcohol you have to hand or increase the quantity of water)
pinch of salt
Beaten egg white and granulated sugar for finishing.
*My yeast comes in 50g blocks. So I used the other 30g to make my cardamon bread.
Put the oil in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the zest and geat until it sizzles and darkens in colour. Add the seeds, turn off the heat and leave to cool. You need to be able to handle it within the dough so leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. Don't rush it and end up burning yourself.
Combine the yeast and the warm water until thoroughly mixed. Put the remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well then pour in the water and oil (once cooled).
Mix together until you have a rough dough then turn out on to the counter. Flour the surface if needed then knead the dough until smooth and silky.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film and a clean tea towel then leave for around an hour until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Once the dough had risen knock it back down then break off walnut/golf ball size pieces.
Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to around 2-3mm thick, rough circles (as thin as you can basically).
Place each rolled out circle on to the baking sheet, brush with the egg white then generously cover with sugar.
Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of your oven and the number of baking sheets you have you will probably need to do this in batches). Keep a close eye on them. You want them to turn a rich brown colour and for some of the sugar on top to have caramelised.
Remove from the sheet as soon as they come out of the oven and leave to cool.