I love the taste of almond or Bakewell slices – just a great softness aligned to nutty crunchiness. Recently I found a recipe that combines all of that into a cookie! I was thrilled – after all it meant I didn’t need to line a tin with pastry and then make boxes to take the slices to market. I thought I would give it a try anyway and here is the result. Personally I really love them. I am not great at decoration but I go the whole way and do the almond icing squiggle on the top – I got the hang of it eventually and of course just ate the mistakes!
125g unsalted butter (softened)
200g caster sugar
100g soft light brown sugar
1tsp almond extract
1 large egg lightly beaten
150g sifted self-raising flour
125g ground almonds
150g chopped glace cherries
50g flaked almonds for decoration
100g icing sugar
½tsp (almond extract diluted in water to taste)
Preheat oven to 150º C/Gas mark 2/ and line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
1. Cream together the two sugars with the butter. Add the almond extract once the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Add the beaten egg. It helps to stop curdling if you add a few spoonfuls of flour as you do this.
3. Add the rest of the flour and the ground almonds and chopped cherries. Mix in well until a soft dough forms.
4. Form the dough into a ball and cut into four pieces. Divide each piece into six and then form each small piece into a ball in the palm of your hands. Roll the ball gently until it feels a little sticky – then place on the baking sheets. I cooked six balls on each sheet. (at least 2 cm apart as they do spread with baking )
5. Gently flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
6. Bake for 30-35 mins until risen and golden in colour. Remove from the oven, but leave to cool on the trays as they are quite delicate at this stage. Use a spatula to remove them and put on a wire rack until they are completely cold.
7. To make the icing, mix the sugar with the almond extract and water. The icing should be quite runny so that you can drizzle it over the cookies. I used a small plastic bag with a tiny hole in the corner as my decorating tool. My first efforts were hopeless as the hole was too big and the icing too thick – so trial and errror works here! You could of course leave out this stage – or even buy a tube of ready-to-pipe icing!
8. When they are totally dry – store in an airtight tin. They keep well for a several days. Makes 24 cookies.