These days it is dead popular to hide things in food for children to get them to eat the stuff they wouldn't normally choose. Usually healthy items, like vegetables. Fanny Cradock had a very different perspective I think, she liked to encourage the little ones to make their own bits and pieces, knowing that they'd be more likely to eat their own creations. Each part of the weekly series ends with a 'recipe' for small fry, quite unlike anything you'd see today. Either that or Fanny thought the wee ones needed some extra encouragement to eat more biscuits and chocolate...?
I know what you are thinking - biscuits and chocolate, it must be chocolate biscuits? Clearly just having chocolate biscuits alone is just not enough for Fanny. Where would the fun be in taking ordinary shop bought biscuits and adding your own chocolate? Well, it sounds ok to me, and would surely keep the nippers quiet for a while at least? But no, Fanny has to take it to a different level, naturally, transforming the ordinary shortbread biscuits into horses.
Yes, horses. It wouldn't be my first thought either. Perhaps some of Fannys friends with children (did she have any?) were equine obsessed, and needed little horse-shaped snacks to take to the gymkhana? Fanny makes it all sound so easy, simply cut the shortbread biscuits in half and scoop out a little circle from the middle to give the impression of legs. I ended up with half a packet of broken biscuits as they crumbled either when cutting or scooping. My knife cut them into many bits, and the piping nozzle I used to create the 'scoop' shattered those that survived. It was like a nightmare Grand National where only one or two made it past the finish line.
Perhaps Fanny smashed all her biscuits too, she doesn't let on, but she uses little off-cuts to make the horses heads and tails by sticking them on with some melted chocolate. She uses ordinary milk chocolate, but I have white. My horses I feel need to be grander. Fanny has given me aspiration, if nothing else. In sticking on the heads and tails there are a few more breaks and mishaps, so the chocolate becomes more like glue, which is quite ironic.
Finally the 'horses' are dipped in the remaining melted chocolate, which is easier said than done, to cover them before being decorated with eyes (little silver balls which ended up all over the house when I dropped the box), saddles and reigns. Fanny makes hers from almond paste, but I have some cake modelling sugar paste for mine. Just not sure what to do with all those broken biscuits, apart from scooping them up and eating them myself... Fanny displays her horses in an inedible field of fake grass, and gives them a bowl of nuts to 'eat'. I've spent the best part of an hour collecting up little silver balls, so mine are left to frolic carousel-like on an orange-half with the aid of some well-placed cocktail sticks. I'm not so sure any children of today would be impressed, they wouldn't win the dressage would they?
Too selfish to keep these treasures to myself, I am entering them in this months Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi this month, (Baking Explorer Kat will be sorry to miss these) which has an 'Anything Goes' theme. These fit so well, don't you think?