We spent a good chunk of last Saturday morning under a mountain, listening to hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rush over our heads and trying to calculate the weight of granite pressing down above us. Claustrophobic paranoia aside, it was a fascinating visit to The Hollow Mountain near Loch Awe where we were staying. We’ve both got a quiet interest in matters green and sustainable: hard not to after putting so much thought into the purchase of the electric car but I think that’s another story for another post. Sadly, I can’t share any pictures from inside the power station because cameras are verboten but here’s one of the beautiful loch.
I’m sure you’re not interested in my holiday snaps – you’re after food! Well, the visitor centre at the power station boasts a very nice cafe: the comforting scent of carrots and leeks simmering for soup filled the little gift shop during our visit and made my stomach grumble. It was still a long time until lunch so we went for a snack and chose one of their enormous gypsy cream biscuits. More cookie-sized than something you’d have next to a cup of tea, I shared it with Jef and it was so nice that I decided to try and recreate it when I got home. (While I’m on holiday, I miss my cats, my kitchen and my laptop in roughly that order!)
The first g.c. recipes I found online didn’t seem quite right for what we’d tried: it was oat-y and vanilla-y with a dense crumb and good crunch. Definitely not chocolate drizzled or cocoa-filled although both of those recipes look mouth-wateringly delicious. In the end, I’ve adapted this recipe to add some oats and strip back the chocolate and coffee down to emulate what I remember of the Cruachan delights.
Gypsy Cream Biscuits
- 125g butter
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 125g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g jumbo oats
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 75g butter
- 125g icing sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 160’C/Gas Mark 3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the syrup, vanilla and egg yolk.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger together and stir gently into the butter and sugar. Stir through the oats. Bring together to form a dough.
- Remove heaped teaspoons of the dough, roll them lightly into balls then put them on nonstick baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
- To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract before using to sandwich the biscuits together.
They’re not really much of a match for their originals – the Loch Awe biccies were much denser and on reflection I think the lemon isn’t right in the filling… but it’s a nice reminder of a lovely day from a truly wonderful holiday.