Being Good: Week Three / Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best.

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Phew! After my little lapse during the week, where I ate my weight in saturated fat and sugar, I recovered admirably to lose 1.5 pounds this week. I am now 12st 5.5 pounds, less than half a stone away from my Christmas Miracle target weight.

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See? I tell thee no lies! Needless to say, I am kicking my heels up a little this evening in terms of food; but from tomorrow on, I am giving it my all on the Original/Red plan. Hopefully I can get as near the mark as possible, but to be honest, I’d be happy enough if I was 12st 4lb on Christmas Eve Eve – the exact same as last year. Time will tell! The weeks are slipping by at an alarming rate, with the prospect of 2013 looming large. This time last year I had the m******* to aim for/shit myself about, and this year I don’t, as such. Perhaps I need to set myself some sort of challenge again…..meh! That can wait til New Years Eve! Until then, I am content to immerse myself in yummy things, which brings me to the second part of my blog post this evening:

Why The Shelbourne’s German Biscuits are Best

For those of you who don’t know what a German Biscuit is, what the hell is wrong with you?? They are the most exquisite of all baked goods. This whole losing weight thing has summoned a certain renaissance in my taste buds, whereby I much prefer the likes of biscuits and buns as opposed to the chocolate orgy I used to have on a daily basis in the days of Fat. Put a Dairy Milk and a scone side by side, that scone is getting destroyed. Anyway, as the post weigh-in feedfest became the highlight of my week, so began the quest for the best German Biscuit of all…….

The essential components of the biscuit:

Two biscuits, not quite shortcake, not quite shortbread. Somewhere in between.
Jam. This forms the filling in the biscuity sandwich.
Soft white icing on top of the upper biscuit.
A glacé cherry on top. This is sometimes substituted with a sweetie.

Sounds fairly simple, right? WRONG. Most German Biscuits (also known as Empire Biscuits) are an abomination. The biscuits can be undercooked, soggy, soft, too buttery, or too well cooked/burnt. The icing can sometimes be rock hard, causing severe roof of mouth trauma; or it can be soft to the point of running off the sides. Ugh. Another icing problem is when the icing is confined to one crummy blob on top. No no no! Cover the WHOLE biscuit please. As for the cherry on top, I can take it or leave it. Most times, I throw the decorative bit on top away, as it doesn’t enhance the overall product. However, I really hate those midget gem type, sugary jelly things that sometimes appear. They are usually rock hard and inedible, plus immature people may construe them as looking like nipples. Hee hee hee.

Finally. The jam. The jam is the most important part of the biscuit. Unfortunately, this is where most purveyors let themselves down a bagful. They simply don’t use enough, which is just disrespectful and stingey. Too much, and the sandwich will slip and slide around the place, too little and you end up with a mouthful of stodgy sweetness. You should be able to see the jam when you look at the side profile of the biscuit itself, otherwise, don’t bother. I can safely say that I have tried every German Biscuit available in the Newry / South Armagh area, and very few of them even make the grade. It’s actually quite sad that where some bakeries have excellent products as a whole, they get lazy when it comes to their traybakes and biscuits. I may be fat, but please don’t insult me with a substandard biscuit.

I hate to admit it, but The Shelbourne Bakery’s German Biscuits stand head and shoulders above the rest. The veritable giant of Newry bakeries/patisseries, this place doesn’t need any promotion from a balloon like me – it was trading from before I was born, and I’d reckon it’ll be trading long after I depart. But credit where credit’s due! Their German Biscuits are consistently delicious, with all the said components working together in gastronomic harmony. Honourable mention must also go to the Sunray Bakery on Hill Street, but they excel moreso with their pineapple/strawberry creams.

Are you a German Biscuit devotee? Have you found your perfect biscuit? Or are you still searching? Have you had a regrettable experience with one? Please share your story with me, as I am eager to hear your tale. Maybe you are a German Biscuit virgin? In which case – go hunting! Risk it for a biscuit! And let me know how you get on! Until then, here’s a photo of this evenings treat. I can feel the 1.5 pounds making their way back to my love handles, but I don’t care. In the words of JFK, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – and proud of it.

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