We are nearing the end of term two of the school year here in Queensland and I am losing my lunchbox mojo! I am fairly certain my kids are sick of eating apples and carrots for morning tea (not that there is anything wrong with these, some variety would be nice though!) At the moment I have four lunchboxes to pack each week. To me, a perfect lunchbox isn’t something that has taken hours to prepare and looks too beautiful to eat. To me, the perfect lunchbox is full of a variety of fresh fruit and veggies, home made snacks, satisfying to unrelenting child hunger AND doesn’t take an eternity to create.
I am at the beginning of my lunchbox packing journey with my children so it is important to me that I lay the groundwork for healthy choices by modelling this through the type of food I pack for them to eat – avoiding preservatives is very important to me. It’s also important to me that I create a system early on that doesn’t rob me of the precious moments I have with them over the weekend. They are only little once and I don’t want to miss out on that!
To kick off inspired lunchbox packing, here is a list I wrote last year that will give you loads of ideas. If you missed it, you can find that post here: 20 Kids Lunchbox Ideas. I have a notebook in my kitchen that I write down all my exeriments, classic favourites and ideas for food that I find interesting or exciting. This next recipe is an oldie but a goodie and the original can be found on many popular websites as well as the good old CWA cookbooks. Originally the big batch biscuits used only four ingredients (condensed milk, flour, butter and sugar). I decided to make my own version of condensed milk to help reduce the amount of sugar in the biscuits. I also wanted to give my Thermomix a workout for this one too but quickly found it could only do half the job as the quantities are very large and will overload the machine.
So, here are my version of the Big Batch Biccies!
Big Batch Biccies (Makes from 60-70 biscuits)
Cheat’s Condensed Milk
50g Butter, softened (if butter is cold from the fridge, add to TMX for 1 min/60 degrees/ speed 2)
130g Powdered Milk of choice
50g Near boiling water
1. Add all ingredients to the TMX bowl and mix on speed 5 for 15 seconds, scrape the sides and repeat as needed. You can also use a blender to combine the ingredients.
2. Pour condensed milk into a very large mixing bowl and set aside
500g Butter, softened (to soften in TMX add butter to bowl for 2 mins/ 60 degrees/ speed 3)
5 Cups white spelt flour
2 heaped tsp baking powder
1/4 – 1/2 cup rapadura sugar, depending on how sweet you like them
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2-3 biscuit trays
2. Cream the butter and the sugar either with a stand mixer or in the Thermomix (speed 5/ 20 seconds) and transfer to the bowl with the condensed milk
3. Add the flour and the sugar to the butter/ condensed milk mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon. When the mixture becomes difficult to mix, use your hands to bring the dough together into a large ball.
4. At this point you can flavour the dough with whatever you like. (I split my mixture into four part. I then just knead in the chosed flavouring. This time I did vanilla essence, oat and desicated coconut, cacao and fruit and chia jam drops.) Once dough has been flavoured, pinch off pieces around the size of a 50cent piece, roll into a ball, place onto baking paper and squash down with your finger or a fork.
5. Place all biscuits into the oven for around 15-20 minutes. Allow to cook slightly before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
*You can bake all of the biscuits at once, which will take a few batches, or you can roll them into logs, wrap tightly in baking paper and place into an airtight container. It will last in the freezer for around two months. When you’re ready to cook them, simply leave them to defrost, slice, shape and bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.