Thursday, May 14, 2009

RUSKS (dry biscuits/cookies)

(from Sunday at Moosewood Restaurant)

Rusks are hard, very dry biscuits, originally prepared in South Africa b the Dutch for traveling lost distances in a hot climate. Rusks were a bread that wouldn’t spoil Now, all over south Africa, rusks are eaten as snacks, dipped in coffee, tea, or milk. In the cities , man different varieties of commercially baked rusks are available. There are raisin, chocolate chip, almond, peanut.

Yields about 2 dozen

2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
½ t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
½ cup melted butter
2 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
2 t. vanilla
2 t. almond extract

Preheat oven to 400

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients, purl them into the dry ingredients and stir until you have a soft dough, similar to biscuit dough

Turn the dough on to a well-floured surface and roll or pat it to about 1/2 “ thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles about 2 X 4”.

Bake the rusks about 2” apart on buttered baking sheets for about 25 minutes until the tops are crisp and browning a little Now, eat a few “soft” rusks warm from the oven.
Loosely pile the rusks on a baking sheet and keep them in a 200 degree oven all day or all night (about 12 hours) to dry. The finished rusks should be very dry and hard. Cool and store in an airtight container. Rusks will keep for weeks.

1. I made it in the CUISINART, mixing the wet ingredients, then adding everything except flour, then added flour last
2. Instead of rolling/patting the dough on a floured surface, I used a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Yum!
3. I cut the rusks into smaller parallelograms instead of squares – more pointy and crisp corners
4. Instead of leaving the oven on all night, I just put them back into the oven which was turned off, but still warm and left them there all night
5. They do not keep for weeks because we ate them all in 48 hours

Oatmeal – reduce white flour to 1 ½ cups and add 2 cups rolled oats (and add currants/raisins/chocolate chips)
Almond rusks: Add 1 cup chopped almonds and omit cinnamon
Peanut: add 1 cup chopped peanuts

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