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|Karl ‘Two lunches’ Hughes
My colleagues and I have spent some time this morning trying to work out whether this recipe is a CAKE or a BISICUIT.
We have a split in opinion. Can anyone out there please help resolve our conflict and let us know the official verdict.
Then we can get on with our work.
PS Nice Site!
Karl ‘Two lunches’ Hughes
|Nicey replies: Dear Mr Two Lunches,
Its not a Biscuit, niether is it a cake, it is however the sort of thing that is often seen sharing a shelf with the equally troublesome flapjacks in our local bakery. The Kiwis make a lot of this type of thing, and maybe that has something to do with the Scots that emigrated there. They call them 'tray bakes' I believe. Whilst for us it shouldn't be too much of an issue if something takes up an unusual spot on the great venn diagram of biscuits, cakes and related items, for the VAT man its a big issue. The VAT man would probably see this as a biscuit that way he could tax it due to its chocolate being largely external.
I fear I haven't answered your question, never mind.
At my place of work we are lucky to have the choice of three, yes three sources of hot liquid refreshment, each inversely proportional in quality to distance from my desk.
Nearest to my desk we have a bog standard coffee machine spitting out hideous approximations of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some weird orange thing that claims to be orangeade but more closely resembes some form of fizzy curry. Whilst the drinks from this machine are approaching undrinkable, much fun can be had by removing the plastic cup from the machine after it has deposited one serving of the hot chocolate mixture, allowing the water to flow into the overflow and mix it with another selection. Coffee obviously produces some kind of mocha effect, another helping of the hot chocolate produces a more than servicable paint and as for the orangeade, well, lets just say my fuel bill has halfed in recent times.
Slightly further away with have some kind of machine/real coffee hybrid machine, that accepts sachets of tea coffee and produces something that, whilst is tainted by the lack of real milk, is actually not too bad for a caffine addict such as myself. Interestingly, there is both tea and coffee whiteners. I have yet summoned the courage to try coffee whitener in tea.
And still further away, a good few minutes walk is a bonafide coffee shop selling real coffee and PG tips tea. Hurrah! An additional bonus is that the route to this source of hot beverage passes 2 table football tables and well, it would be rude not to.
Keep up the good work on the website...
I have just read your review, and others' comments, on Abernethy biscuits, and I can clarify a few things because not only have I been eating them all my life, but I made some homemade ones last night. (and very nice they were too).
1- the key to Abernethy biscuits is Caraway seeds. Interestingly, these are not listed in the ingredients for the Simmers ones, however they mention 'flavouring' so I assume some caraway seed flavour must be included under this heading.
2- they don't need to be raised by ammonium bicarbonate - this is just an ingredient in some kinds of baking powder and vanishes during the baking process having no impact on taste.
3- when I was little, and went to playgroup at the local church (c 1979,) our favourite biscuits were "Rich Abernethy", and came in a purple packet, or perhaps it was dark blue (I was only four years old). These were not made by Simmers, but I don't know who they were made by. One person comments that they think Abernethys used to be bigger - I think it was this other make that were bigger.
4- Simmers used to make loads of different biscuits, including a lovely dark chocolate chip ginger biscuit. However, their website now only lists Abernethy, the horrible butter biscuits and equally horrible MacVita (a Ryvita type of thing). There must be a thing about dark chocolate ginger biscuits - Gray Dunns and their delicious dark choc gingers have gone, and so have the Simmers choc chip gingers.
I'll away now,
|Nicey replies: Well I'm no expert on them, but I had never heard the Caraway seeds mentioned before. I think I would have to be hallucinating wildly to detect in a Simmers one. Still its a nice idea. My Nan used to get a caraway seed cake quite often when we used to visit, and I haven't seen one in years. As to the raising,. well yes it wouldn't matter what was used, its just a comment on the smell of the commercial biscuit dough really.|
|I'm not crazy about Oreos on their own, but they are amazing when crumbled up and put on ice cream.|
|Nicey replies: Actually Fred Pipes and myself saw an Oreo just randomly ditched on the pavement on Brighton seafront on Monday afternoon. Presumably this is another way in which they can be enjoyed. |
|Steve in Minnesota
|Believe it or not, you can find anything on the web. For example, a website dedicated to... of all things... the wonderful, far better than Oreo, Sunshine Hydrox cookie|
As a kid, and even today, I much prefer Sunshine brand to Nabisco. Take crackers (soup crackers), for example, Sunshine Whole Wheat Crackers are great, Nabisco are far to bland and way over salted. Back to the main point, the Hydrox cookie was much better that Oreo, it had better flavor and better ingredients; it was flavored with real vanilla. But Nabisco had a marketing force the Sunshine just couldn't compete with. In the US, from a marketing perspective, perception is far more important that content.
Also, as you noted yourself, the 'Hydrox' name is a bit odd, and somewhat reminiscent of drain cleaner, but it is actually a composite name made up of the names of the two primary persons in the Sunshine company at that time. I think they 'Hy...' was for Hyrum, but I'm not sure about the '...drox' part. I knew this at one time, but that was many, too many, years ago. It was suggested that they change the name, but they were steadfast in their loyalty to it.
Keebler has now taken over the Sunshine brand, and Hydrox, when they can be found, are marketed under the name 'Droxies'.
One final comment, Oreos are the classic lazy mom - hyperactive kids cookie. Pure balls of sugar sandwiched between hyper-chocolate; just by them and eat them. What kid can resist a ball of chocolate and sugar overload.
As far as the instruction, that was added many years later as a marketing ploy. It simply reflects the way kids eat Oreos. You see the trick is to twist one cookie off while leaving 100% of the filling on the remaining cookie. However, for the unskilled and the heavy handed, a slight prying action will leave filling on both cookies. Of course, there is nothing you can do then but lick the frosting off, eat the cookies, and try again.
Another, actually much better, Nabisco cookie is the 'Nilla Wafer' (Vanilla Wafers). These are just what the name implies, small round hard vanilla biscuits with a yummy flavor. Their not really wafers, but a small round cookie/biscuit that soaks up milk like a sponge. They are also very good for crumbling up and making a bottom crust for assorted deserts.
Another unrelated cookie related note; instead of Ginger Nuts, we have Ginger Snaps. Ultra-rockhard ginger cookies with a pleasant ginger bite to them. Also, excellent when softened in mild. However, nothing beats my Mom's homemade ginger cookies; thick soft and chewy with a wonderful ginger flavor.
Steve in Minnesota; USA
|Nicey replies: Steve,
Right you are then.