Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Garibaldi Biscuits; a.k.a. Sultana Biscuits, Squashed Fly Biscuits , Etc.

Do you remember these things? They used to come in a small rectangular package of several sheets of thin, perforated cookies, which you then broke along the dotted line and ate, preferably with a nice cup of tea, dunking optional. They were the perfect cookie to have with tea, being not too sweet and rather dry, apart from the hit of the rich moist raisins. They were made, I'm pretty sure, by Nabisco.They were also discontinued sometime in the '90's, to great wailing and gnashing of teeth, at least in this household.

But we can rebuild them. We have the technology. Oh, wait; I'm getting a little carried away with this blast from the past stuff. And actually, we - or at least I - can't reproduce that dry, flakey texture that the original factory-baked cookies had. But I can come up with something that's still pretty damn good. Time for a tea break. Pass the bickies.

My mother and I think the amount of raisins is perfectly fine. Mr. Ferdzy thinks they could use more. If you think you might belong to the Mr. Ferdzy school of thought, feel free to put in another quarter cup or so of them.

32 to 48 cookies
1 hour - 35 minutes prep time

Garibaldi Biscuits
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chopped raisins
1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit 2 large cookie sheets.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small chunks and cut or rub it into the flour mixture. Chop the raisins and mix them in as well.

Add the milk and stir until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. You may need to work it a bit, and press it together with your fingers; the dough should be fairly stiff and dry. However, stop mixing as soon as it comes together. This dough is somewhat like pie pastry and should be treated similarly.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and roll each portion out to about 1/8th of an inch thick, and in as neat a rectangle as you can manage. I trim the edges and patch it up a bit as I work to keep it neat. You may need to dust it with a little flour to keep the rolling pin from sticking.

Cut the rectangle with a pizza cutter to form smaller rectangular shapes; about 16 to 24 of them. Lift the parchment onto one of the cookie trays, and put it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then brush with the glaze and return the cookie tray to the oven for 12 to 14 minutes more, until the biscuits are golden brown and quite firm.

To make the glaze, just mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. It may help to heat the mixture in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds.

While the first tray of biscuits is in the oven, roll out and prepare the second tray of biscuits.

The cookies should be fairly firm when they come out of the oven, but they will continue to harden and crisp up as they cool, so don't worry if they aren't as firm as you think they ought to be. Re-cut the lines as soon as the cookies come out of the oven, unless you want to re-create the experience of breaking up the cookies as you eat them.

Last year at this time I wrote about Red Prince Apples.


Kat Tancock said...

Oh, how I miss these! I remember the day I went to buy them in the store and they were gone and the clerk told me they'd been discontinued. Will definitely try this one!

Latter-Day Flapper said...

We were addicted to these! My mother is still furious that we can't get them any more.

Decadent Housewife said...

Yes, I remember and miss these. Yes, perfect with tea.

Marnie said...

Ooh, freaky -- I came across a reference to Garibaldis last week and had to Google them to see what they were. Oh, those!! How I loved them as a kid, but haven't even thought of them for years. I don't remember what we called them, or who made them. How idiotic of the company to stop producing them.

Marnie said...

Hang on, I'm a bit lost in the recipe. You've added the flour twice and the milk not at all (it must go in the third paragraph instead of that second "flour"?) and what's the glaze?

Ferdzy said...

Ha, yes; I figured lots of people would remember them.

D'oh! (Or should that be D'ough!)

Thanks for pointing that out Marnie; obviously I wrote this up last thing before bedtime last night and wasn't totally on top of things... fixes have been made.

Joanne said...

I don't know that I ever had these, which sounds absolutely tragic! I'm going to have to make yours to try to figure it out...

Kat Tancock said...

Testing these right now, and wanted to share that according to google, you can still get a version of these in Asian supermarkets. I'll keep my eyes peeled next time I'm in Chinatown!

carie said...

Thank you thank you!! I just made these on the weekend and am having such wonderful flavour flashbacks. I loved these growing up and recently had a terrific craving for them. Your recipe is excellent. I love that you used whole wheat flour.

Tim G said...

Sultana still exists & makes the same Garibaldi's as before. It's not Nabisco but Koninklijke Verkade which provided them since the 19th century, a Dutch company. The recipe however delivers excellent cookies!

manin black said...

Where can you buy these cookies? I've been looking for years. Obviously not in the right places.