Archive | August 2016

Now to Norway – vanilla and almond butter biscuits

Having ventured into northern climes once I decided to invest in a baking book which reached even closer to the North Pole. I have to say it is absolutely delightful – useful non-fussy recipes and inspirational photography. (  I’m a bit wary of the latter as sometimes the photography is misleading – tricks used by photographers go way beyond cooking skills.)

These biscuits are delightful – so light and easy to make. Their only difficulty is that the pasty is so light and delicate it is difficult to handle in hot weather – or for that matter, a hot kitchen!  The combination of vanilla and almonds is wonderful. The original recipe suggested sprinkling demerara sugar on the surface of the biscuits – however I used Swedish sugar crystals which I love as they just look so pretty after baking – like sprinkles of snow.


Vanilla and Almond Biscuits

WP_20160817_16_53_02_ProMakes approx 30 biscuits


200g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder


 large pinch salt

150g butter

125g caster sugar

1 large egg (lightly beaten)

1tsp vanilla extract

to finish

1 medium egg-white

finely chopped almonds (skin on)

demerara or sugar crystals to sprinkle


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºCfan/Gas mark 6. Line three baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Using a mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and butter and blitz until the mixture resembles bread-crumbs.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and keeping mixing until the dough blends. If it is a little dry, you could add a teaspoonful of milk – but I found it was a very soft dough without any addition.
  4. Using clingfilm – take the dough and shape it into a long sausage approx 3 cm in diameter. Wrap each end over so that it is closed and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. This dough is much easier to deal with if it is cold.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and using a sharp knife, slice into small discs. I found the easiest way was to pat the discs gently to flatten them and then use a 3cm cutter to shape them. Then I used a thin metal spatula to lift them onto the baking sheets. They do expand and rise on baking so don’t pack them in tightly.
  6. Glaze the tops of each one by brushing with egg-white ( fork it around before you start so it spreads on better). Scatter each one generously with chopped almonds and sugar crystals.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for 8-10 minutes. They will be golden in colour and have slightly risen and expanded. When they are cool, lift them carefully onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. The biscuits should last for a couple of weeks in an airtight tin – though it is unlikely you will have to test this theory!