February 2019 – Almond Shortbreads
Makes about 16 shortbreads
145g plain flour
0.2g (pinch) of salt
60g ground almonds
85g caster sugar
0.60g (1/8th tsp) almond extract
125g unsalted butter
16 whole blanched almonds (optional)
caster sugar to dust
1. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper and place aside.
2. Sift the flour and salt onto a sheet of baking parchment and place aside.
3. Place the sifted dry ingredients into a food processor.
4. Add the almonds to the processor bowl and blitz for 1 minute.
5. Tip the ingredients from the processor onto a sheet of parchment paper and place aside.
6. Place the butter into the bowl for a stand mixer.
7. Weigh the almond extract on the sugar then add the sugar & almond to the butter.
8. Cream for 3-4 minutes until light with the whisk attachment.
9. Scrape down and beat again for 1-2 minutes.
10. Tip the sifted dry ingredients into the bowl.
11. Mix slowly with the whisk until the ingredients form a paste.
12. Scrape the paste from the bowl and place onto a parchment lined baking tray.
13. Cling film the tray, flatten the paste down and then chill for 30 minutes.
14. Scale the paste into 25g pieces.
15. Mould the pieces round and press onto the two baking trays to about 5cm across.
16. Press a whole blanched almond into the biscuit almost right down to the tray.
17. Bake at 140°C for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden & firm.
18. Immediately dust with caster sugar using a tea strainer.
19. Leave to cool on the tray for 15 minutes.
20. Lift the shortbreads off the tray and place onto a cooling wire to cool completely.
21. Gently tap the biscuits to shake off the excess sugar and place in an airtight container.
Almond is one of those flavours which people love or hate; I personally love almonds and especially in this shortbread. I blitz the almonds with the dry ingredients to make them slightly finer. The almonds give the finished biscuits a beautiful flavour and a slightly gritty texture with a unique melting quality. Be careful with the almond extract or flavouring, use according to its strength or quality to your own personal taste.
- I like to scale the paste into pieces, but if you prefer you can roll the paste into a sausage shape then chill and cut into slices. This is quicker but produces slightly uneven results.
- Try and find an almond extract in preference to an almond flavour, extracts are extracted from the pure ingredient and flavours are normally chemically made and are weaker and very synthetic in flavour.
- These shortbreads keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.