March 1, 2010
Almond Jam Drops
As I look into the biscuit container I see that the jar is almost empty. Two days ago I had a nice baking afternoon on a rainy Saturday. I felt like eating almond jam drops. I also tried another choc chip cookie recipe. The kids and Hubby preferred my regular choc chip recipe however there were no complaints and the bikkies are almost all gone. There is something so warm and homely about baking your own biscuits. In a strange way I feel 'powerful' that I can do this. Strange. For all the recipes out there, for all the cooking shows, for all the celebrity chefs, for all the magazines and books out there, I see very little evidence of people baking biscuits. Too hard? I am not sure what people think, perhaps it has all become too intimidating and I guess baking biscuits can be a little time consuming.
As for me, I cannot walk away while they are baking. I care too much. The trays need to be changed over half way through baking. I don't like a dark colour. They need to be watched. I transfer them onto a rack and then return them to the oven to crispen underneath. It all takes time. But the love and care taken to make them well and truly shines through. The house becomes filled with wafting sweetness and warmth. It is inviting and it makes everyone feel good. Everyone has a comment to make. And in the case of The Borb who was working on his car brakes outside all day, it was a welcome relief. The smells of baking bikkies had him striding in several times for a quick pop-in-the-mouth escapism.
There are certain times when these bikkies are called for. I can't have too many of them as they are truly rich, 'shortbready' in texture and oh so comforting. This comes as a result of using a fair amount of butter. On the up side, they are delicious and I know exactly what I am eating, unlike the bought biscuits of today with loads of 'ingredients' in them.
If you can, make them in cool, dry weather as they will retain their crispiness for longer. I broke those rules. I made mine in humid, wet and hot conditions. They softened the very next day as a result. However I had my fix immediately after they cooled down on the tray. Softened or not, they are still a treat with my coffee as I write this very post. What's that? I just heard the opening of the biscuit jar as Issy works on her assignment at the kitchen table. I love being a mum that can make bikkies. I just love it.
Almond Jam Drops
(adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly)
185gm unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
165gm caster sugar
2 egg yolks
60gm ground almonds
225gm plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup apricot jam
Beat the butter, extract, sugar and yolks in a bowl with electric mixer till just combined. Stir in nuts, sifted flour and baking powder; mix well.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; lightly flour your hands as you go to prevent mixture from sticking. Place about 5cm apart on a tray lined with baking paper. Press a hollow into each ball about 1cm deep and 1.5cm wide with the handle end of a lightly floured wooden spoon.
It helps if the jam is slightly runny so you may need to loosen it up a little in the microwave. Carefully spoon a little apricot jam into each hollow. It is best to do a little at a time and add to it rather than try to heap it into the hollow and end up with too much that will spill over.
Bake in a moderately slow oven for about 25 minutes or until very slightly browned. I swapped trays over half way through baking time. I also placed wire rack with bikkies back into a fan forced oven to help crispen the underside. Do this for no longer than five minutes with the temperature turned off and just the fan force going as the remaining heat should do the trick.