I’ve always made a large batch of mince pies at this time of the year and taken them to work to serve instead of sending Christmas cards to everyone. This year I’m no longer there and my friends with whom I’ve kept in touch either hate fruit in any kind of cake, or have been made redundant. So I’ve turned my attention to other seasonal fayre instead and baked the following recipe in honour of this blog.
It’s a traditional one hailing from the Basel area in Switzerland and the cookies can be cut into any desired shape, though hearts are generally preferred.
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
0.25 cup (50g) sugar (granulated is fine)
4.5 cups (250g) ground unblanched almonds
1 cup (200g) sugar
4 ounces (100g) unsweetened chocolate (I used plain, fairtrade)
1 large pinch of ground cinnamon (more if you prefer your biscuits spicy like I do)
Sugar or flour for rolling out the cookies. If you use sugar, I suspect the finer the better.
- Beat the egg whites with the sugar and water until just starting to stiffen
- Grate the chocolate
- Combine the almonds, the rest of the sugar, chocolate and cinnamon in a bowl
- Add the egg white mixture and work it into the ingredients to make a soft dough
- Sprinkle the work surface with sugar, place the dough on it, and roll out about 1cm (3 eighths of an inch) thick
- Select your favourite cutter shape and size and cut out the cookies
- Place them on a buttered baking sheet and leave then to dry for at least 5-6 hours, preferably overnight
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit/ 160 degrees centigrade/ or 150 degrees centigrade for fan assisted ovens
- Bake for 15 minutes on the centre shelf
Makes about 60 small cookies, or 20 large ones. They should be crisp on the outside and quite soft on the inside.
I used the spare egg yolks in an omelette I made for supper. Tonight our house is filled with the smell of chocolate and my husband is a very happy man, having tried the first one still warm off the baking sheet.
Michelle Chapman. plain.
Whoop-de-doo: the congratulations of the ruling committee and plenum go out to Michelle for her reaching the honour of plain.The third of our contributors to make it to this lofty plateau.