Sunday 5 July 2015

Crunchy/chewy almond biscuits

These started life as a chunky biscuit in Ferran Adrià's family cookbook. I wanted something more delicate to eat with the passionfruit soufflé I serve; a little extra crunch. Possibly I'll make these into biscuit spoons to eat the soufflé with, I've done something similar before. These must be the simplest biscuit ever, with the added bonus (unintentional so all the more pleasing) that they are gluten and dairy free. The only fat is in the almonds. The nuts will kill some people I suppose. Nature gives and nature takes away.

The Spanish way
They can be soft and chewy or brittle like biscotti, or a little of both, depending on how long you cook them. They are Spanish by design but the taste takes me straight back to a Brynmill bakery in my Swansea youth. As a seven year old, I would agonise between an iced slice or a crisp macaroon. Iced slices were devilish hard to eat with small hands though, the oleaginous custard filling would often lubricate an escape from between puff pastry confines and flubber onto the crumb, ash and dog hair floor. Macaroons were the safer bet. 

Almond biscuits
Makes that tinful below. I think I'd eaten a few by then.

Wisk one large egg white until stiff. With the whisk running, slowly add 135g of caster sugar. Whisk until it's stiff and glossy. Add a scant teaspoon of natural almond essence if you want that old fashioned British macaroon taste (I do). Pour in 135g ground almonds and gently fold these in. You could also add lemon or orange zest at this stage; one of each maybe? Try not to beat out all the air. Pour the paste onto baking paper, or even better, a baking silicone sheet and gently spread out with a palette knife until even in thickness. Scatter with flaked almonds. A sprinkle of caster sugar makes everything sparkle but can be omitted. Wow, just how camp did that sound?

Bake at 180°C for anything between ten and twenty minutes depending on how fluffy/crunchy you want. The ones pictured were baked for about 14 minutes. Turning the baking tray around after ten minutes is a good idea, unless you have a perfect oven. Cut into shapes while still warm. Allow to cool before attempting to lift or they will fall apart. 

These seem very susceptible to moisture so keep in an airtight container while you're pretending not to eat them.


  1. Can you add any other ingredients in place of almonds?

  2. Another ground nut would do - pecan? Wheat flour would totally change the nature of the biscuit. Or did you mean the flaked almonds on top? If so yeah, chuck on anything you like that will bake. Cheers.