Baking at Christmas is so much fun. The kitchen smells fantastic and there are always lots of good reasons to eat and lots of people to eat with. These scrumptious almond drop biscuits are made from a buttery almond-type shortbread that melts in the mouth. The added benefit of being coated in dark chocolate gives a lovely bitter contrast to the sweet biscuit. Served with a hot cup of tea you will find them very moreish. For convenience you could use ground almonds which would give a slightly smoother texture.
- 240g butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1tsp almond essence
- 375g plain flour, sifted
- 150g whole blanched almonds, very finely chopped
- 250g plain chocolate, broken into squares
- 6tbsp icing sugar mixed to a pasted with 1tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F/Fan 160°/ Gas Mark 4. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets and line with baking paper.
Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and use an electric whisk or wooden spoon to beat until smooth, pale in colour and creamy. Beat in the vanilla and almond essence.
Mix in the flour and almonds until you have a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Place on the baking sheet , spacing apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pale golden.
Cool the biscuits on the baking sheets for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the base of the bowl or the chocolate may overcook. Heat gently for 5-8 mins, without stirring until the chocolate has melted. Alternatively place the chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and cook on HIGH/100%for 1-11/2 mins.
Cool chocolate slightly then half dip each of the biscuits in the chocolate. Place on a sheet of baking paper and leave until set.
Spoon the icing into a disposable icing bag and snip off the end to make a small hole. Pipe decorative icing on the chocolate side of the biscuit. Leave to set before serving.
Use hazelnuts or pecans instead of almonds and replace the almond essence with extra vanilla extract.