tastes like my childhood: garibaldi biscuits

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

I have childhood memories that have stuck with me since the beginning. The vanilla chocolate chip cake my mom made for nearly every birthday celebration is one of the fondest. It’s not just cake but each bite tastes like childhood. It’s a strong memory. As are the date squares she made for a winter snack or the tarte aux sucre that reminds me of my grandmother.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

Then there are the memories that I didn’t even realize I had. These biscuits, for example. I saw the recipe on pinterest and when I clicked over to the post, I realized that I knew these cookies well. My mom didn’t buy a lot of sweets, but she had a sweet tooth. She wanted to keep us on the straight and narrow when it came to junk food so we didn’t get a lot of store-bought cookies. But there was one cookie she would buy at the store. They came in a rectangular package and the cookies themselves came in long perforated sheets. You had a break your cookie loose from the larger cookie sheet so there was some effort involved. And because they weren’t coated in chocolate or had icing centres they felt healthy. I think that’s why my mom bought them. I knew them as Sultana biscuits – at least, I think that’s what I remember them as.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

The recipe I saw called them Garibaldi biscuits, but they are also known by the appealing name “squashed fly biscuits”. Whatever they’re called, I’m happy that they’re back in my life. These are not very sweet cookies. In fact, they’re plain and dowdy and as a kid, while I was happy we had cookies in the house, I was disappointed because raisins didn’t seem like treats. Now that I’m a grown up lady, these biscuits are just the ticket. I’m fine with their plain old selves. I see the appeal. They go lovely with a cuppa in the evening and they taste deliciously wholesome. That’s a thing, trust me.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

Buttery but not too rich, these cookies are studded with currants and dried cranberries. You could use the more traditional sultanas, but I used what I had in the cupboard. Plus, I like currants and dried cranberries a whole lot better. Lemon zest gets added to the dough which, I think, is a must. Orange zest would work well too. When there’s not a lot of sugar, you need an extra zing of flavour and the zest does that beautifully.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

To make a batch, you have to make a dough that has more in common with a pie or cracker dough than cookie batter. Cornelius called these “cracker-cookies”, so you have some expectation on what you’re dealing with here. You roll out the dough, and when it’s flat enough, you sprinkle on the dried fruit. Then you fold over the plain side onto the fruit side and roll out the thing again. Basically, you’re studding the dough with the sticky raisins which is a nice little trick. Cut the dough into rectangles and pop on a baking sheet. As you can see my dough isn’t the most rectangular specimen so that gave me lots of little ugly off-cuts. That’s okay, because they’re just as tasty as their prettier cousins.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

Did I mention that these are made with a 50/50 split between whole wheat and all purpose flour? Remember, I said that these were wholesome treats! Raw sugar is sprinkled over top before baking. It gives the biscuit a nice crunch and sweetness. They’re dense and solid cookies, not flakey or crunchy.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

I packaged up the biscuits to a friend. A trade actually. We got some of their leftover wedding lights to string up on our balcony and they got some wholesome biscuits. I like to think that we’re both happy in that trade.

garibaldi biscuits | everybody likes sandwiches

And as a treat for it being Canada Day (whooo!), I’d like to offer a 15% discount off anything in my etsy shop. I have a whole bunch of new cards, sale items, prints and other lovely paper things to purchase. Use the code “WHOLESOME” at checkout. But be quick, this offer expires July 3, 2014.

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17 comments to “tastes like my childhood: garibaldi biscuits”

  1. 1
    Catherine   July 2, 2014 at 3:18 am

    I love garibaldi biscuits. I first had them on trips to the UK from the US, but now that I live here I can buy them. They do feel virtuous. I think they are made with currants here. Yours looks delicious.

  2. 2
    Karen   July 2, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Yum! I had Sultana biscuits as a child too! My dad still gets them from time to time — they get them at the Asian grocery stores. These homemade ones with cranberries and lemon sound much better. Perfect for a tea break.

  3. 3
    kickpleat   July 2, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Catherine, so glad they’re familiar to you as well. Hope you end up making a batch.

    Karen, I saw somewhere that they were available at asian grocers, I’m curious to pick up a package!

  4. 4
    cheri   July 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I love everything about these, they sound perfect for a light breakfast even. Pinned.

  5. 5
    Joanne   July 3, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I could see these being fairly disappointed to my childhood self..but perfectly lovely to my adult self!

  6. 6
    kickpleat   July 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Cheri, I would totally eat these for breakfast :) Thanks for pinning!

    Joanne, welcome to adulthood!

  7. 7
    Lulu   July 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    OMG. I had totally forgotten about these. I have a feeling they are similar to eccles cakes?

  8. 8
    kickpleat   July 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Lulu, no, they’re not that similar. Eccles cakes (which are one of my favourite pastries) are more flakey and sweet – these are definitely wholesome. Oh man, now I want an eccles cake!!

  9. 9
    Jessica   July 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My mom used to buy these for us, I loved calling them squashed fly biscuits! Thanks for the recipe and the memory!

  10. 10
    JoanneM   July 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve seen these biscuits in shops that carry British imports but I have never tasted them. Now you’ve got me curious.

  11. 11
    kickpleat   July 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Jessica, so glad they jog your memory too!

    JoanneM, they’re tasty but not too sweet :) Perfect snack!

  12. 12
    Nancy McNee   July 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    WOW — I’m not the only one who calls these cookies Fly Biscuits!!! They play a part in one of my earliest memories. One of my brother’s decided to play “zoo” with me as a caged animal — baby under the crib with the crib side down!! He fed me pieces of fly biscuits! Not sure what that says about either of us but your post brought a smile to my face and I’m going to make a batch for him today! THANKS :)

  13. 13
    kickpleat   July 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Nancy, glad this jogged some serious memories! That is an early memory for sure :) Hope you and your brother enjoy the cookies :)

  14. 14
    Erin   July 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I love Gariboldis too. When we lived in London, people made fun of you if you ate them, they called them ‘old lady biscuits’, but I quite like them – just a bit of sweetness and chewiness from the raisins.

  15. 15
    kickpleat   July 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Erin, what?!!! that’s crazy. Glad you enjoyed them, taunts and all :)

  16. 16
    Samantha   July 22, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I love garibaldis! I’m in the midst of moving, but I might need to whip up a batch of these (hadn’t packed up baking supplies yet!). :)

  17. 17
    kickpleat   July 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Good luck on the move, Samantha. And you should bake up a batch sometime either before or post-move so you can really enjoy them!

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