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There is nothing like a good biscuit or scone. When I came across this recipe on the blog Twig Studios, I was intrigued.  It brings together so many flavours that I love; blackberries, ginger, lemon and fennel. The result was fantastic – with a nice texture these biscuits are nutty, sweet, and savoury at the same time. Spread with a little butter, they are even better!

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The recipe is much more complex that the buttermilk biscuits that I usually make in both in the number of ingredients and the method, but the good news is that it works. To make the fennel sugar, you have to plan in advance. Combine about one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a jar of sugar to infuse the flavour for about two weeks prior to making the recipe. If you don’t have the patience to do this in advance, just break up the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, combine with the sugar, and move on.

I made some adjustments increasing the amount of both blackberries and candied ginger, and found that I needed more buttermilk than the original recipe suggested to get the dough to come together.

This recipe made a dozen generous biscuits.  I’d suggest cutting it in half if you don’t anticipate being able to use them all the same day that they are made – they are very filling and so much better fresh!

Gingered Fennel, Hazelnut and Blackberry Biscuits

1/2 cup 115g cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups 150g old fashioned rolled oats plus more for garnish

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp fine grain turbinado or granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (see comment above).

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped unblanched hazelnuts with their skins plus more sliced for garnish

6 ounces  blackberries

grated zest of one lemon

about 1 cup plus 6 tbsp shaken buttermilk

5 tbsp chopped candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with baking paper or silpats.

Cut the butter into small cubes and place on a plate in the freezer.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade grind 3/4 cup of the oats until it is a fine meal, then add the flour and ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup of the fenneled sugar, baking powder and soda and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup 75g rolled oats, the hazelnuts and cubed butter pulsing and additional 7 to 9 times or until the butter pieces are pea sized.

Turn the mixture into a large bowl and add the lemon, ginger, and blackberries tossing gently to mix. Then pour in half the buttermilk and, using a bowl scraper or a spatula, gently mix the mixture adding enough buttermilk until a rough ragged dough comes together (you may not need all of the buttermilk). Hold back just enough of the buttermilk to brush the tops of the biscuits later.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat rectangle about one inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into triangles or squares. Brush the tops with the remains of the buttermilk and sprinkle over the remaining tablespoon of fenneled sugar, oats and sliced hazelnuts

Bake for about 20 minutes until evenly browned.

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