Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bakewell Biscuits

Since tweeting a picture of these little biscuits last week I've been inundated with requests for the recipe. It's easy to see why, as I honestly think that these blooming brilliant biscuits are up there with anything you'll find in even the best bakeries, patisseries or tea rooms. Two almond shortbreads are sandwiched together with jam, covered with icing and sprinkled with flaked almonds. Biscuity yet slightly chewy, sweet yet fragrant, stunning yet simple, they are as good for a posh afternoon tea as they are for your lunchbox. The only problem you'll have is trying to stop yourself hoovering up the lot in one go!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some chilling and cooling time)
Baking time: 12 Mins
75g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
75g Caster Sugar
1tsp Almond Extract
100g Ground Almonds
50g Plain Flour
8-10tsp Jam (Whatever flavour you like, but the best you can afford)
75g Icing Sugar
1tbsp Warm Water
A few Flaked Almonds

First up is the almond shortbread. With a wooden spoon cream together the butter and sugar. Add the almond extract, then tip in the ground almonds and flour and mix it until it starts to form a dough. Get your hands in and bring it together to a smooth ball, then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a large flat baking sheet with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out about 3-4mm thick. Using a small (5cm diameter) round pastry cutter cut out as many little biscuits as you can (You should get at least 18-20), re-rolling if necessary and place each evenly spaced on the baking paper. They don't spread much during baking, so you don't have to leave a massive gap. Place in the oven for around 12 minutes, until nice and golden on top, then remove and leave on the tray for to cool slightly. After about 15 minutes they should have become biscuity and firm so you can slide them off of the baking paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

When the biscuits are cold, it's just an assembly job to finish off. Blob about half a teaspoon of jam on the base of half of the biscuits, then sandwich another biscuit on top, gently pressing to secure. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the warm water. The consistency should be smooth and glossy, with no lumps and should coat the back of a spoon. If you think it's too thick then add a couple more drops of water to loosen. With a butter knife spread a little icing on top of each sandwiched biscuit then finish by scattering over a few flaked almonds. Done and done!

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