13 December 2018

Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie)

Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with luscious clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com

I should be a judge or something on the Great British Baking Show—British baking has been my schtick all my life. And here I go with a biscuit (cookie) from Southern England. This isn’t a family recipe. My only connection to Devon is that 13 of my ancestors on my father’s side came over on the Mayflower from Plymouth. 

I’ve had biscuits/cookies made with clotted cream and butter before, but they were from Cornwall. I only learned about this traditional all-clotted cream Devon version when I read a post about Devon Flats on the charming food blog As Strong As Soup.

The recipe was in print as early as 1935 and most are very similar and call for the dough to be cut into 7 or 8 cm/3-inch rounds. I wanted them a bit smaller for afternoon tea and used a 5 cm/2-inch round cutter. The clotted cream can be store-bought (difficult to find in the US, though) or mail-ordered (clotted cream on Amazon), or you can make my authentic Homemade Clotted Cream, which I did the day before I made the Devon Flats.


Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) / www.delightfulrepast.com

You might think this plain little biscuit would taste no different from a regular sugar cookie made with butter. But if you’re a clotted cream aficionado, you know that clotted cream and butter taste quite different. I resisted my natural inclination to add vanilla extract or citrus zest or spice, knowing I'd be rewarded with the pure clotted cream flavor. 

Most Devon Flats recipes call for self-raising flour (called self-rising in the US), but I always use plain flour (called all-purpose in the US) and so have added baking powder and salt to the recipe. Since British self-raising flour is not the same as American self-rising flour, it makes much more sense for me to make my recipes with plain/all-purpose.


Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with my authentic homemade clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com


The recipes I looked at measured the clotted cream “or thick double cream” in “ml” rather than grams, so I’m assuming those bakers were using a much more liquid product than I. I used clotted cream, which is quite solid, so needed to add more liquid. The recipes called for rolling out the dough anywhere from Phil’s “thinly” to 1/4 inch, 1/3 inch, 1/2 inch and even an absurd 1 inch.

I rolled this batch to 1/4 inch but next time will do 1/8 inch, which is what I imagine Phil’s “thinly” to be. And that will mean more biscuits! And, since my clotted cream is not the least bit pourable, I will change up the mixing a bit, creaming together the clotted cream and sugar, then mixing in the egg followed by the flour mixture. 



Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with luscious clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com



Devon Flats 


(Makes about 3 dozen 2-inch/5 cm cookies/biscuits)

1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) clotted cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

A little milk, if needed (I used 4 tablespoons, one at a time, of the thin cream left over from making clotted cream)



1 In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to “sift” the ingredients. Whisk in the sugar.

Note: I plan to change this up a bit next time as mentioned above: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cream the sugar and clotted cream together. Mix in the egg. Then mix in the flour.

2 With wooden spoon or with hand mixer on low speed, mix in the clotted cream and egg to form a soft, but not wet, dough. If the dough is too stiff, add some milk a little at a time to soften the dough.

3 Cover the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so. Chilling the dough will make it easier to handle. 

4 Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick and cut out the biscuits using a 2- to 3-inch (5 to 8 cm) round cutter.

Note: As mentioned above, I plan to roll the dough about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick next time. 

5 Place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until the biscuits are coloring on top and browning slightly around the edges. Cool the biscuits completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Jean

52 comments:

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I don’t know about all that flour power you describe, but clearly your taste buds sailed to this land along with your ancestors on the Mayflour [sic]. I’m impressed with the thoroughness required for this post. You had to be an Epicurean, a chemist (UK variety for pharmacist), a historian, a scientist, a geographer and a chef extraordinaire. Not to mention excellent writer. Pip, pip! 5 cleavers.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, I had a feeling you might appreciate the "thoroughness" of this post. :-) And the 5 Cleaver award is never taken lightly! Pip pip.

Vee said...

I have been so disappointed by Brit recipes that I’ll leave the cookie/biscuit baking to you...we have such different palates in the US. I am wondering if I have just met another cousin...13 relatives on The Mayflower...how interesting! Perhaps we can compare notes at a less busy time. 🙂 Happy baking!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Jean, I use all-purpose flour too. I wish we could get the self-rising flour here as it would make it easier. Your cookies/biscuits look lovely and buttery! By the way, I have always called my stuffing "dressing" as did my mother and my Granny but on my blog I started to refer to it as stuffing because some didn't know what dressing was. It's nice to know that you also call it dressing. I don't feel quite so alone now. LOL Thanks for your visit and enjoy this lovely season we're having. I may or may not get back here next week because my family will be home and I probably won't be at the computer much. Merry Christmas, my friend!

ellen b. said...

How nice of you to go to all the effort to make this a doable recipe for us Americans. Thank you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sure, Vee! Can you send me a quick email with the names of your people on the Mayflower? And I'd love to hear more about your disappointments with Brit recipes!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, yes, it seems you and I are *practically alone* in the "dressing" camp, but I'm going to stick with it! I don't like self-rising/raising flours at all--I'm too much of a control freak, *I* want to control the amount of baking powder and salt! Enjoy your time with your wonderful family and try not to wear yourself out spoiling everyone!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ellen, very few people mention that. Thank you!

Angie Schneider said...

I too prefer to make my own self raising flour. These cookies look melt-in-mouth and delicious, Jean.

Carole said...

Jean, thanks for all your support of Food on friday. Have a great Christmas. Lovely biscuits too! Cheers

Louca por porcelana said...

They look delicious!Best wishes,Jean!Merry Christmas!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Angie. You really taste the sweet creamy flavor of the clotted cream.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Maristella, thank you. And best wishes to you!

Jaki Jelley said...

Ah, now you're talking. A true Brit here and these are right up my street. Thank you for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Carole. AND you're welcome--I always enjoy looking at the links!

Tony Grant said...

"My only connection to Devon is that 13 of my ancestors on my father’s side came over on the Mayflower from Plymouth."

You what!!!!!!

I have written a couple of articles about the Pilgrim Fathers. I think you commented on them Jean.

I was walking the Thames Path with an old school friend recently and we walked through Rotherhythe and had a pub lunch in The Mayflower pub beside the site of the dock where The Mayflower set sail from. You may well have commented on that one too? The pub displays the last will and testament of the entire crew on the bar wall. I presume going on a long sea journey they didn't know whether they would survive.

"Devon flats." I have not heard scones called that name but clotted cream and strawberry jam liberally spread on scones and washed down with a nice cup of tea go down very well. This recipe sounds great. Thanks Jean.

Grace said...

They actually do look like biscuits! But, you know, American biscuits, not British cookies...(Which now has me craving biscuits - warm from the oven dripping butter...)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jaki, thank you. And thank you for hosting.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, my favorite use of clotted cream, of course, is spread generously on scones. But this cookie really has the flavor of the cream. Yes, I do recall your posting about Plymouth. Will have to look that up again!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Well, Grace, you can check out my Recipes index page for my American biscuit recipes. These cookies are about 1/4 inch thick, unlike my fluffy American biscuits!

Lowcarb team member said...

They look very nice.
Clotted cream is so yummy …

All the best Jan

Margie said...

I love clotted cream and can eat it as is! I've had clotted cream spread on scones, but have never had a biscuit that tasted like it! Thanks for the visit.

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Well, I'm cheating here, Jean. I wanted to give you an update on my banana cream pie with the shortcrust experiment. It went quite well! I invited myself over to a friends house for dinner and said I'd bring the banana cream pie with shortcrust. It was a hit! Even my underwhelmed-with-banana cream pie liked it. Thanks! Now I want to do it with the coconut cream pie.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Jan. I expect the next batch will be even better with my planned improvements!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, that's wonderful! Even Mr M liked it? Can't wait to hear how the coconut cream pie turns out for you.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, you'll be amazed at how that creamy flavor really comes through. Perfect with a cuppa tea!

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Those cookies sound amazing. I love history and I really enjoy trying different recipes. I do have a question, I'm unfamiliar with clotted cream. Where do you find it or can you make it? I want to try out this recipe. And I always get a big kick out of Sully -- cleavers and all.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

Thank you for all the information on this great post and the wonderful cookies, I never had clotted cream but I think we have something similar in Germany called Schmand.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Marisa. You can usually only find clotted cream in British import shops, but I've added links to the third paragraph so you can either order it on Amazon or make homemade.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Gerlinde, thank you. I had not heard of Schmand, but if it is not sour or tangy, then it might be very similar. Clotted cream is not the least bit sour.

Pauline Wiles said...

Thanks for the plain flour version of the recipe: I usually struggle with the conversion to self-raising that's needed in my family's recipes. These look delicious, Jean.

Stephanie said...

WHat a delightful recipe, sweet Jean! Wishing you a most wonderful Christmas Season. Hugs!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Pauline. Any time you need help converting a family recipe, just send me an email!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Stephanie! Hugs and Happy December!

Sonia said...

Will have to try this ....I love love clotted cream! First time I ever had it was at high tea in Victoria BC. Thanks for sharing and your sweet comment on my blog! Merry Christmas!

Jeanie said...

This looks really interesting, Jean. It would be intriguing to try it side by side to see the taste differences.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Sonia. My first posh hotel afternoon tea was in Victoria! Happy December!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jeanie. Yes, a side-by-side taste test would be just the thing--and such fun!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Well, I'm very pleased to have pointed you in the direction of this little biscuit. Opinions on the thickness of this (and many other) biscuits do vary and I was chickening out by just saying "thinly". In fact, I prefer around 1/8th inch. As for the self-raising flour, the first recipes that I came across (a long time ago) insisted that there should be no raising agent at all but that doesn't work quite as well for me. I'm happy to say that I've been back to Devon several times since I first put the recipe on the blog and nobody turned me away at the border, so it can't be too controversial.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, I'll definitely go with 1/8 inch next time. That's how thick I make my cutout sugar cookies, and I like it. Love that subtle clotted cream flavor!

Cocoa and Lavender said...

So many things to talk about! First, are any of your relatives from the Mayflower William Bradford? Could we be related? I have other relatives on there, too!

I keep meaning to try making your clotted cream, and I will. But might just buy some today to make these biscuits, I can’t wait to try them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, no, not William Bradford. Who else do you have? How fun! Let me know how you liked the biscuits!

April J Harris said...

That is so cool you have made your own clotted cream, Jean! I take for granted how easy it is to buy it in the stores over here in the UK. Your biscuits look lovely and I enjoyed reading about their history. I've had commercially made Clotted Cream Biscuits but yours look so much nicer - and I know they would taste much nicer too! Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April. Yes, I've been making my own clotted cream for a few years now. Love it! And I was so happy to learn about these lovely biscuits.

Jo (A Rose Tinted World) said...

Oooh I bet these taste delicious. I love clotted cream, and why not? #BlogCrush

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What a fun recipe to try for a ladies tea party, Jean! I'll take a look at your clotted cream recipe, too. Thank you for sharing with us. We both love baking, which is something that we definitely have in common. Wish a could share a cuppa tea and a Devon Flat with you.

Treat and Trick said...

This looks interesting, never used clotted cream for baking. I want to give this a try soon..

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Treat and Trick. This was my first bake with clotted cream, and I was surprised at how very clearly the flavor comes through, entirely different from butter. Let me know how you like it.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Self-rising (raising) flour is convenient, but I don't use enough of it to keep it on hand. So glad you are using AP flour! I've heard to this cookie, but have never had it. Sounds terrific. Thanks. And Happy Holidays!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John! I always thought, hey, if I don't have time to add my own baking powder and salt to something, I don't have time to be making anything anyway! Happy December!

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Thank you Jean for linking up with us at the #BloggingGrandmothers End of the Year Link Party 2018! Party ends January 5, links are unlimited so feel free to add more!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee!

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