Recipe by Jo Casamento Gerges
Basic Almond Biscuit Ingredients
300g blanched almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
2 – 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon ‘gluten free’ baking powder
Flavouring option of your choice (see below)
Place almond meal, icing sugar & baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed to combine ingredients. (Don’t use whisk attachment or hand held mixer as the mixture is too hard to mix). This can also be done by hand by mixing initially in a large bowl & then turn out the mix onto a clean work surface to bring the mixture together & add flavours.
Now its time to add your flavourings and colours to the basic mixture (see below) & then gradually add the egg white, as you may not need to use all of it (depends on humidity, the size of the egg you have used and your flavourings). Try the mix, the flavour should be a little stronger than you would like the end result as after baking the flavour won’t be s strong.
If the mixture feels too soft, you may need to add a little more almond meal. The mixture should be sticky when touched with dry hands, but firm enough to roll and hold their shape once your hands have been dipped into a small amount of water. Cover the mixture with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out while you shape your biscuits. Always wet your hands slightly before shaping biscuits. Make sure each biscuit is of similar size when baking to ensure even baking. Place shapes evenly spaced on a flat baking sheet lined with either silicone sheet or baking paper. I tend to weigh out my dough into 20g balls & then shape them from there. Easy enough to get kids to help you do it as well.
Dredge biscuits with extra icing sugar before baking. This helps the icing sugar to stay on afterwards. Allow trays of biscuits to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. This forms a slight crust which allows them to stay solid on the outside and soft on the inside, making them less vulnerable to breakage after baking. Bake at 180° C for 10 -12 minutes. Cooking times & temperatures may vary depending on your oven. Allow to cool completely on trays before removing biscuits. When cool, store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 4 weeks.
Almond fingers or Horseshoes – Add 1 teaspoon rum or rum essence and 1 teaspoon almond essence to the basic almond recipe. I like to use Braun Patisserie brand which is available commercially. Roll into desired shape & into raw almond flakes.
Hazelnut & Chocolate – Substitute half the almond meal with hazelnut meal in the basic almond recipe + small discs/pieces of good quality dark chocolate. Roll into balls and push your thumb into the ball to make an indentation. Place the piece chocolate in the indentation and re-roll the ball until the chocolate piece is covered in the hazelnut mixture. Roll into extra hazelnut meal to finish.
Lemon – Add approximately 2-3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest into the basic almond recipe. Roll into balls in icing sugar.
Macadamia – Add 1/2 teaspoon rum essence to basic almond recipe. Roll into balls and into chopped macadamia pieces to cover.
Orange or Orange & Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest and 1/4 cup good quality candied orange peel which has been processed into a paste in the food processor with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Pistachio – Add 2 teaspoons pistachio paste (you can make this yourself by processing shelled pistachios with a little rice bran oil in a food processor ) to the basic almond recipe. Roll into small logs on a bed of whole pistachio kernels so that the pistachio nuts adhere to the outside surface area.
Rose – Add approximately 1-2 teaspoons of rosewater and either red food colouring or ¼ – ½ teaspoon beetroot powder (available from Herbies spices) to the basic almond recipe. Dip into icing sugar and shape into a cube. We chose a cube shape for these biscuits so they resemble Turkish Delight.
Rum & Raisin – Soak ¼ cup of sultanas or raisins overnight in water. Drain and dry on a tea towel. Add l/2 teaspoon rum or rum essence to the basic almond recipe along with the prepared raisins. Shape into either balls and roll into castor sugar.