I had originally planned to bake bread, but didn't plan ahead and was short on time, so skipped it and went for the lovely almond biscuits with jam instead. This recipe is from the third week of Den Store Bagedyst, the Danish version of The Great British Bake Off.
Makes around 24, depending on size
200 g plain flour
75 g ground almonds/almond flour
50 g caster sugar
0.5 tsp almond extract
150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
icing sugar for dusting
smooth dark coloured jam
- In a large bowl, blend together the flour, the ground almonds, the sugar and the almond extract.
- Cut the butter into 1 cm dice and add to the dry mixture, then using only the fingers of one hand, gently incorporate the butter. It is important that the dough is not over-worked.
- Once the mixture is homogeneous and looks a little like wet sawdust, use the whole hand to bring the dough together to one ball.
- Wrap in cling film or put in a plastic bag and place in the fridge for an hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C. Prepare baking paper for the baking sheets.
- Place a piece of baking paper on the work surface, take half of the dough, form to a flat patty and place on the baking paper. Place a large piece of cling film on top and roll out over the baking sheet.
- When the dough is about 3 - 4 mm thick, remove the cling film and cut out biscuit shapes of your choice. Make an even number of biscuits and cut out holes in the middle of half of them. Leave at least half a cm between the biscuits.
- Remove all surplus dough around the biscuits, then bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Repeat until all the dough has been used up.
- Once a baking tray is done, very carefully remove the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
- When all biscuits are baked and cooled down, leave the ones with holes on the wire rack and move the others to one side.
- Dust the biscuits on the wire rack with icing sugar using a sieve.
- Warm up the jam for 10 - 15 seconds on half power in the microwave oven and stir it around.
- Place about a tsp of jam on each of the whole biscuits, then carefully spread it around evenly over each biscuit.
- Very carefully place an iced biscuit over each of the jam biscuits, press very gently in place.
The biscuits are very brittle and really melt in the mouth. This is why it is so important to be very careful when mixing the dough and only using the fingers and very gently squeezing the butter into the dry mixture. If kneading with the whole hand, I think gluten starts developing and makes the end result tough and chewy rather than melt in the mouth.
I made 16 biscuits and had about a quarter of the dough left over. I froze it and will try it out in a couple of weeks. I used a cutter that was about 6 cm diameter and made the holes using a metal cap from a wine bottle. I also rolled the dough to 5 mm, so overall the biscuits were a bit too big and too thick. Because of being so brittle, I think a 4 cm cutter would be better and also roll them slightly thinner too, so that a biscuit can be eaten in one bite.
I also cut them out a bit too close to each other. There is no leavening agent in the dough, but they still swell a little. Also it would be easier to remove the surplus dough. I had to use a toothpick.
I also didn't have any smooth jam, but used some of my raspberry jam, which had quite a lot of pips in it. The original recipe calls for blackcurrant jam ("solbær" in Danish, literally "sun berries"). I think raspberry worked quite nicely, but any dark coloured and tangy jam will do. However, it should definitely be smooth.
I think these are the fiddliest biscuits I've done to date, but they were well worth it and actually they didn't take too long to make. I'm very pleased with the dough and the texture I managed to achieve. Lundulph is still in awe of the angel food cupcakes, so his praise was subdued, but commented that they would be nice with strawberry jam. I'm not sure, but we'll see.