I almost always include spices in my baking, but during the festive period, spices takes centre stage in the array of puddings, cakes, and biscuits that surrounds us.
Who doesn’t love a well-made gingerbread biscuit, rich with warming ginger, earthy nutmeg and sweet cinnamon?
Baking, as we all know, is responsible for the most delicious smells wafting through the kitchen and home. It signifies cosiness and comfort, and often, memories of times spent baking with our mothers and grandmothers.
These almond and cardamom biscuits are sweetened with the toffee-like flavour of jaggery, the unrefined sugar I grew up with.
They’re crunchy, almondy and fragrant with the heady yet subtle aroma of cardamom – easily my favourite dessert spice in both Bangladeshi and Western sweets.
Do ensure you dust the biscuits with icing sugar while still warm as the sugar will create a nice powdery coating instead of just sliding off.
Make a double batch and present some in a pretty tin or bag for a delicious edible gift.
It’s best enjoyed with a cup of masala chai.
Ingredients (makes around 24)
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
50g ground almond
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
Icing sugar, for dusting
Use a sharp knife to shave off bits of the jaggery until you have the right amount.
Place this, along with the butter, in a small pan and melt over low heat, stirring regularly until the jaggery has dissolved – you may need to break the jaggery with a wooden spoon to help it along.
Once the butter and jaggery are well combined and there are no lumps, pour into a mixing bowl, stir in the spices and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
Place the flour and ground almonds into a bowl and mix in the butter and jaggery mixture. Stir through until well combined.
Bring the mixture together with your hand until you have a soft dough, being careful not to over mix or knead. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and begin preparing your biscuits.
Press 1 level tbsp of the mixture into a measuring spoon. The mixture will be a little greasy, so gently push to release it and place on the baking sheet, flat side down. Repeat for the remaining mixture.
Make sure to leave about an inch between each biscuit as they will expand slightly.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until light golden. Cool for a few minutes and dust generously with icing sugar.
Once the biscuits are completely cooled, they can be stored for a few days in an airtight container.
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