almond sesame biscuitsrating:
you can make up more of the mixture than you need and save half. The reserved half can be rolled into 5cm logs, wrapped in clingfilm or butter paper and frozen or refrigerated. When required the logs can be de-frosted and, while still cold, sliced into ½ cm rounds with a bread knife. A very useful standby!
grinding the whole almonds with their skins on gives extra roughage and a fresher almond taste. The appearance of the biscuits can be varied with the shapes you cut and with what you put on top - a single almond (whole or blanched), or a dense freckling of seeds. For marzipan lovers, a few drops of pure natural almond essence/oil can be added to the mixture to intensify the flavour.
makes 30 biscuits
200g (7oz) unbleached plain flour
50g (2oz) almonds, ground
100g (3½oz) muscovado sugar
1 egg yolk
125g (4½oz) butter
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp tahini
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
milk to brush the biscuits
almonds, sesame seeds, and/or sunflower seeds for decoration
a few drops of natural almond essence/oil (optional)
measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. The muscovado sugar should be delumped by hand or run through a coarse sieve. If you are grinding your own almonds, weigh them whole, then use in a coffee orspice grinder, or food processor, not a goblet liquidiser.
slice butter into dry ingredients and leave in a warm place to soften if necessary. Lightly rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until you achieve a breadcrumb-like consistency.
add the egg and tahini and stir together with a wooden spoon until you can press the mixture into a firm yet pliable dough with your hands. Add more egg or a drop of oil if necessary.
line your baking tray with parchment or oil with sunflower oil.
lightly flour a flat, clean, surface. It is probably easiest to roll out a grapefruit-sized ball of dough at a time. Use a floured rolling pin, and press the dough together at the edges with your fingers where it splits. Roll out thinly (about ½ cm) and use a pastry cutter to cut into rounds, stars, Christmas trees or other shapes. Dip the cutters in flour if they start to stick. Line up biscuits on an your prepared baking tray leaving a little gap between each of about 1cm.
brush biscuits sparingly with milk then either press a whole almond into the centre of each biscuit, or take a little saucer of sesame seeds and press the inverted biscuit into them, milk side down, to give a nice even, well-glued coating. The same can be done with sunflower seeds.
bake biscuits at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 15-20 minutes - though it's advisable to check them for even cooking after 10 minutes and move the tray around if necessary. They should be golden brown when cooked with a slightly more foxy shade at the edges. Allow them to cool for several minutes before removing from the trays. When completely cold, these biscuits will store well in an airtight tin.