Simple Dessert with a few ingredients

The only thing I’m enjoying about packing is the fact that I’m finding some of my hidden treasures. I found a few recipe books with amazing recipes that I kept in a safe place, only to forget about them. I found this Easy Delicious Tiramisu recipe in an old Woolworths Taste Magazine. It had another name for it and I remember there was alcohol in the recipe, don’t ask me what alcohol as I won’t be able to tell you. I don’t drink it so I’m a little uneducated on anything related to alcohol.

I cannot tell you much more about the recipe because after I used it my helper decided to put it away and now can’t remember where the magazine is anymore. But my packing is not over yet so I’m sure it will pop up somewhere soon.

At least I still remember the ingredients and it is such a simple dessert to make with absolutely no effort at all. Did I mention it is also heavenly, it is creamy with that hint of coffee and my favourite madeira cake.

Most recipes use ladyfinger biscuits but this recipe uses madeira cake and I simply love it. I must admit I did not spend tons of time decorating it although I did regret it after I saw my dreadful photos. Please don’t be put off by my decorating skills, as they say “the proof is in the pudding” so you have got to try it to appreciate it.

I promise to make a show stopping one the next time I try this recipe. Just to have something for my photos I used a round cutter and cut out a little piece, wanted to add a little bit of prettiness to it. I did tell you I was a homecook, didn’t I, in case you forgot.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner this is also an amazing dessert to make, you can try making it into a heart shape. Well, at least if you are the romantic type.

Please do not eat this dessert as soon as it’s made, it must be refrigerated for a couple of hours at least. Trust me it doesn’t taste as delicious if not chilled.

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Easy Delicious 10 minute Tiramisu
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Instructions
  1. Beat the mascarpone, fresh cream and vanilla together
  2. Cut the madeira cake into slices
  3. Cool down the coffee a little, if it is too hot the cake will break easily when dipped
  4. Dip the madeira slices into the coffee and layer it in a dish or a bowl, ensure the bottom is covered
  5. Pour over the excess coffee
  6. Fill the cake with the mascarpone cream filling
  7. Scatter some grated chocolate and crushed amaretti biscuits over it and refrigerate for a few hours before serving
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Perfect for Afternoon Tea

Are you surprised? Yes I did bake these scones in the airfryer for 8 minutes and they are totally satisfying and yum. You may adjust your time depending on the thickness of your scones. Did you ever think such simple things in life can give us so much joy. Well I was in heaven eating these Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones.

I missed my scones, it’s the one thing I make often because not only is it quick but there’s something comforting about having scones with tea. I couldn’t bake for a while now because my oven decided to give up on me. So today I thought why not make some scones in my airfryer and it turned out perfect. You can of course bake yours in the oven for a little extra time, about 10-15 minutes.

I’m sure most of us assume baking scones is the easiest thing to do, well at least I did. Until one day when I overworked my dough and had chewy, horrid scones. I have since learnt the secret to making beautiful, light scones is in how you handle the scone dough and of course using cold butter. These Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones are so quick and easy to make and if they are a little rustic looking then you know you’ve done a good job.

Unfortunately scones are not the most forgiving, you work the dough a little more than you should and you will have disastrous scones. I have seen chefs use ice-cold butter, straight from the freezer, grated into the flour. To be totally honest I don’t think I have the patience to grate frozen butter. For this Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones I remove my butter from the refrigerator when I’m ready to use it. I then add my flour into the food processor, pop my butter in and give it a quick pulse. This works perfectly for me.

You can also add your buttermilk and egg to the mixture in the food processor. If you give it a pulse just a few times it brings the dough together without overworking it. Thereafter you remove the dough and place it on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour. Just use your hands to press it down to about 2cm thickness.

When cutting the dough press the cutter into the dough but do not twist, press and lift. This technique will then create those rich, buttery layers in your scone.

Looking for more sweet treats then another easy recipe to try is my Shortbread

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/shortbread/

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Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your airfryer for a minute
  2. Add flour and butter to a food processor and give it about 3 to 4 pulses until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Add sugar and pulse one more time
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse about 3 times until the dough comes together
  5. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring it all together. Flatten the dough with your palms, about 2cm thickness and cut into circles.
  6. Do not twist the cutter when cutting the dough, simply press and lift. This is what creates the beautiful layers in your scones
  7. Brush the top of the scones with eggwash (egg mixed with a few drops of water) or some extra buttermilk and bake in the airfryer at 180 degrees for 8 minutes or in the oven at 180 deg celcius for 10-15 minutes
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I first discovered this delicious dessert called Eton Mess when I watched a cooking show on TV. It looked so delectable and yet so easy I had to give it a try. It has since become a firm favourite in our home. It is a British dessert which was apparently served at Eton College’s prize-giving picnic, so glad I stumbled upon this recipe.

Eton Mess, to me, is almost a comforting dessert, everything literally gets dumped into one bowl and yet turns out heavenly. Its all mixed together and becomes one big delicious mess. Just the way I like it. If you want to show off your “cheffy” side you can layer the three ingredients. I haven’t yet found another dessert this simple and delicious. This one has just 3 ingredients, strawberries, cream and meringues. Making my own meringues is a mission so I settle for store bought ones. I actually found some pink ones made with strawberry juice this time.

When I am in the mood to get all fancy I use different fruit or make a berry coulis to drizzle over my Eton Mess. But I actually prefer it this way, no fancy frills. You can also use any berry, mango or even passion fruit. I have also seen recipes with some pistachios sprinkled over for that extra crunch.

Due to the simplicity of this dessert you can make it any day of the week. If you are making it for guests you can prep the ingredients in advance and put all together when serving. I love the different textures in this dessert, the airy, melt-in-your mouth texture of the meringues, the richness of the cream and the little crunch from the strawberries.

I did not add any sugar to my dessert. The meringues are sweet enough and I prefer not to add sugar. However, you can add some castor sugar when whipping your cream if you prefer a sweeter version.

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Easy Eton Mess Dessert
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Instructions
  1. Whip the fresh cream until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overmix
  2. Chop up the strawberries.
  3. Break the meringues into pieces, you can keep some whole to decorate if your prefer.
  4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently fold them. Serve immediately. You can decorate them with more strawberries and meringue.
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I made these Caramel and Custard Danish slices as it is my husband’s favourite. It’s his cheat day so he gets to eat all the treats he misses on other days. He also won an award at work for “Leader of the Year”, I am so proud of him and all his hard work and dedication.  Today I put in some extra effort to cook him a great meal.

Did I mention we get to go to Mauritius, his prize for winning the award…so how can I not spoil him, see I’m trying to be extra nice. By the way, he loved the Caramel and Custard Danishes, he ate 3 of them so they must’ve been good.

We often buy the Woolworths Caramel and Custard Danish Slices and it’s never enough as there are only 4 in a pack. With this recipe I at least got 10 slices. My 10-year-old never eats the one from Woolworths, he never liked them and refused to eat them. However, he ate these and he told me he loved them.

You should know me by now, I do love shortcuts.  I used store-bought puff pastry, which made my job so much easier and I had these slices done in minimal time.  The one Woolworths makes has a softer pastry, mine was a little more flaky. There seems to be a shortage of vanilla pods or maybe vanilla pod suppliers are also on strike. We do live in South Africa after all.  I’ve looked for the past month and nobody has them so I’ve given up on my quest to find vanilla pods. Vanilla extract to the rescue.

However they are still delicious with the right balance of sweetness. I never add too much sugar to anything I bake, so these were perfect for my family. The caramel also adds to the sweetness.  If you prefer a sweeter version you can add more sugar to your custard.


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Caramel and Custard Danish Slices

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius. Cut pastry in half lengthwise and cut each half into 5 even pieces

  2. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is cooked. Place on a rack to cool

  3. In the meantime, add the vanilla to the milk and cream and bring to a boil on medium heat. Remove from heat

  4. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, custard powder and 2 teaspoons of milk. I prefer adding the extra milk so I get a smooth mixture, it does help in getting rid of the lumps

  5. Pour the milk into the egg mixture, a little at a time, whisking continuously. Return to a low heat and stir until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and pass it through a sieve to get rid of any lumps. Set aside to cool

  6. For the glaze mix 2 tablespoons icing sugar with about 2 teaspoons water or milk until it's smooth

  7. Once the pastry cools down, spread the caramel on the inside of every slice of pastry. Then spread custard on half of the pastry slices and use the other slice to cover them. Drizzle the sugar glaze on top and refrigerate until ready to serve


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Crunchies, this is definitely a South African favourite which you have to try. These crunchies are so delicious, crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside. Did I mention also quick and easy to make?  To be honest I found this recipe on the internet a while back. I never thought I would ever have the courage to start my own blog and share it, so I never recorded the source of the recipe. However, I think it’s such a delicious recipe and it’s why I want to share it. I have baked it a few times and it’s always been a hit with everyone that’s tried it.

You probably won’t believe me but I promise, I don’t eat the sweet stuff I bake.  I love stocking little treats in my cupboard because I do work from home. It gives me great pleasure to offer my client’s a special home-baked treat with their coffee.

My kids also don’t eat too much of the stuff I bake, they are tempted when it’s just out the oven but that is as far as their temptation goes. Am I feeling guilty that I’m sharing too many sweet treats of late??

These Crunchies also makes the perfect snack but are also great as Christmas gifts. You can pack them in little boxes or jars with a cute ribbon and you have a gift made with love. I cannot believe it’s that time of year again.  Time to shop for presents and swing into holiday mode soon. We don’t celebrate Christmas but it is a time we get to see more of our family. It’s only during the holidays that we get to spend time with our dear parents, whom we don’t get to see very often.

I’m so looking forward to our break. We also get away from fast-paced Johannesburg, it’s funny how everyone in Johannesburg is always stressed and never have time. The people in Durban are the opposite, they are so much more relaxed, laid back and friendly and you can still visit people without making an appointment a month ahead.

On that note let me share this delicious South African Crunchies recipe with you. Please do try it and if you do, kindly drop me a note to let me know if you think it’s as delicious as I think it is. I love hearing from you and you are welcome to mail me with any comments or questions.

 

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South African Crunchies
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cut the butter into little cubes and melt it together with the golden syrup, in a microwave for about a minute is perfectly ok.
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the melted butter and allow it to stand until the mixture starts frothing
  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix it all together
  4. Press the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet at bake at 160 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. Cut into squares whilst still warm
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Vermicelli Pudding or Payasam (the south Indian term for it) is an Indian dessert typically served on religious occasions or festivities. It is a delicious dessert,  when cooked well of course. There was a time in my life when I did not get this pudding right. Every time I tried, it was almost a disaster but my polite guests always ate it and said it was good.

One day I finally had success with my attempt at making Vermicelli Pudding. It was then that I realised my guests were actually just being nice. I had invited 2 of my friends for dinner one day and I made this Vermicelli Pudding as dessert, I thought I did a great job but I could see my friends were struggling to eat it, keeping a straight face. They told me it was delicious but when I tasted it I realised it was actually a disaster. I was totally embarrassed and from that moment on I never attempted it again.

My hubby loves Vermicelli and he insisted I learn to make it well. He couldn’t exactly go to his mum to eat it anymore, we did move miles away from Durban. So after a few more failed attempts I finally got it right.  One day I had a light bulb moment and I discovered what I was doing wrong.  My vermicelli was actually being overcooked. You see vermicelli is like pasta, it must be cooked al la dente and once the heat is turned off it finishes cooking to a lovely consistency. Frying your vermicelli in the butter ghee from the very start also makes all the difference to the taste.

Vermicelli is a very fine, like angel hair pasta and you can easily overcook it. Most Indian Spice Stores or local supermarkets stocks Vermcelli. Not everyone serves this sweet dish with Papadums but my family loves it.  I often serve it this way, the sweet with the savoury is super delicious.

Most people use sugar and some even use a little water when cooking this Vermicelli Pudding but I prefer to use milk and condensed milk to sweeten it.

 

 

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Vermicelli Pudding
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  1. Melt the ghee on medium heat. Add the vermicelli and fry until it's slightly brown
  2. Add milk, a little at a time and mix well. Allow it to simmer until the vermicelli is cooked but be careful not to overcook it. The vermicelli pieces will still remain whole, if it looks mushy then it is probably overcooked and this is when you have stodgy vermicelli pudding. Stir at regular intervals and turn the heat off as soon as the vermicelli is cooked but still firm.
  3. Add condensed milk, elachie and almond. I used 3 tabelspoons of condensed milk but feel free to use more if you want it sweeter
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When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Meringue Tart. This is a beautiful lemon dessert to make if you want to wow your guests.

I absolutely love lemon desserts and this Lemon Meringue Tart is perfect, it’s sweet with just the right amount of tartness..  Most lemon meringue tarts require condensed milk as but I’ve used Mascarpone Cheese which makes it even more yum.

The first time I tried making a Lemon Meringue Tart I was really nervous as I thought it was a real complicated dessert to make.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but I was pretty amazed with the results. It was easy to make and really not as daunting as I thought it would be. My family also loved it but they are going to love this one even more.

Today I got a little carried away and I initially considered making little mini tarts. However, once I realised the amount of time it would take, compared to making one large tart, I quickly changed my mind. Time is precious when you have kids,  I’m constantly looking for easy ways to do stuff.  To save myself from the challenging task of pastry making I chose to use Tennis Biscuits for my base. It still tastes delicious and you eliminate the stress too.

Tennis Biscuits is my go to tart base and I always keep a packet in my  pantry for emergencies.  It is a lifesaver when you need a base in a hurry. Well  I guess if  you really want to impress your guests then you can put in the extra effort to make a base from scratch.

Lemon Meringue tart looks gorgeous with a big, fluffy meringue on to. However I used only 4 egg whites, I didn’t get a whole heap of meringue but it was enough to make my tart delicious.  If you prefer more meringue you may increase the amount of egg whites.

 

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Lemon Meringue Tart
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150 deg celcius.
  2. Place biscuits and melted butter into a food processor and pulse until it resembles find crumbs.
  3. Press the mixture into a 28cm pie dish, use the back of a measuring cup to flatten it. Chill in the refrigerator
  4. In a large bowl beat the eggs and the half cup castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice, a little at a time and then add Mascarpone, little at a time until the mixture is smooth and creamy, ensuring there are no lumps
  5. Pour the mixture into the biscuit base and bake at 150 deg celcius for about 40 minutes or until cooked. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 deg celcius once the filling is cooked
  6. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites, once it forms soft peaks start adding the 5 tablespoon castor sugar, a little at a time until stiff peaks are formed. It will be smooth and glossy
  7. Pipe or spread the meringue over the cooked filling and bake in the oven at 140 deg celcius for about 20 minutes or until meringue is slightly brown. Best eaten the same day or you can bake the filling and top up with the meringue when serving, if you not serving it the same day
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I am so chuffed with myself as I tried making these Rose Flavoured Macarons for the very first time and they turned out perfect. Whenever I heard the word Macaron I was terrified to even try it, almost every blog I read you hear about people having to try it a “million” times before they perfect it or how difficult it is to make it. It’s no wonder I doubted I could ever make Macarons, I thought that was something I should leave to the professionals.

Well let me tell you even home cooks can do it, I followed a recipe from this website https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-macaron-recipe-435221, and I couldn’t have followed a more perfect recipe.  The instructions were simple and just reading it already convinced me it was going to be a breeze. I halved the recipe, although I was convinced it would turn out well I wasn’t so sure about how my ancient oven would work. But my old faithful didn’t disappoint me, it helped me produce perfect macarons. I think I may have baked the Macarons a few seconds too long but apart from the colour being slightly brown everything else was perfect. My kids love Macarons and I normally spend a fortune buying them, now I can make my own and I’m determined to try every flavour I can, provided I have loads of time to spare.

I also read a few tips before making my Rose Macarons because I really wanted to get this right. I found this very informative article and I’m sure it will help you too in your quest for making the perfect macaron http://misohungrynow.blogspot.com/2011/01/troubleshooting-macaron.html

I didn’t have a Macaron mat as recommended, this helps in getting them all the same size, so I just created my own little template on parchment paper. I also added a 1/4 teaspoon rose essence to my mixture and a few drops to my icing with a little bit of rose syrup. You can taste to see how much you require, rose essence is concentrated so be careful not to add too much. It is also imperative that you allow your Macarons to rest for 20 minutes, it will become smooth and shiny, this allows the outer surface to harden when baked,, the air from the batter escapes from the bottom edge instead of the top and will create “feet”. Do not over mix your batter. Your egg whites must also be glossy when whipped. If you follow the recipe correctly I don’t think you will encounter many problems, correct measurements is key to making amazing Macarons.

 

 

 

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Rose Flavoured Macarons
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  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees celcius. It is recommended not to use the fan in your oven if possible. Macarons need a lowish temperature to cook properly
  2. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large bowl. Discard any lumps
  3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks are formed. Add castor sugar a little at a time and whisk until the whites are thick and glossy, you can add your rose essence at this stage. You can also add a few drops of rose syrup or some gel colouring to get pink macarons
  4. Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will become quite loose but don't stress, it's the way it should be
  5. Use a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, fill it up with the macaron mixture
  6. Place your paper template or silicone mat onto a baking sheet. Pipe little blobs onto the sheet, the mixture will spread out so keep it small
  7. Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on a flat surface to help the macaron mixture settle and break any air bubbles. Leave to dry for 20 minutes, It will become smooth and shiny
  8. Bake the macarons for 7 to 8 minutes, open the oven door to release the steam and bake for a further 7-8 minutes. It will be cooked when firm and slightly risen
  9. Slide the mat or paper onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. Do not remove until they are cold or they will break
  10. For the filling, beat the butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add your rose flavouring and mix well
  11. Place half a teaspoon of filling on the flat side of one macaron and sandwich together, twist a little to create a bond
  12. Its best refrigerated 24 hours, this step will make it chewy and delicious
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Super Moist Chocolate cake, yes you heard right, this chocolate cake beats any other I’ve ever eaten.  It is super moist, delicious and decadent, it’s the only chocolate cake you ever need. Remember my post on How to use Buttermilk this is a perfect example of how buttermilk gives your cake that melt-in-your-mouth texture. My sister got this recipe from a friend many years ago, I think it was quite a mission getting it so I hope I’m not getting into trouble sharing it…some people are quite secretive about their recipes.  However, I did tweak the recipe a little.

My family absolutely loves this cake and I have been often asked for the recipe. My cousin has requested I post this recipe as she wants to become a pro in the kitchen. I promise everyone that eats this cake will be asking you for the recipe too, it’s that delicious but you can keep it a secret if you wish. The original recipe have a few steps to making the cake but like try to keep most of my recipes simple this Super Moist Chocolate Cake recipe was made simple too. I cut out all the tedious steps and mixed everything in one bowl, with absolutely no fuss and it’s flop proof, I certainly haven’t had a single flop with this recipe. However, it is super moist so you do require more than just a greased pan, your pan must be lined with parchment paper as it will end up a mess when trying to remove it from the pan. I prefer to bake mine in a glass ovenproof dish, I normally slice them in the dish and gently remove each slice, if you refrigerate it before cutting it up that works great. They are perfect as cupcakes too.

If you ever wondered why some chocolate cakes are so much darker in colour, it’s because Dutch cocoa has been used, if you read my article on Natural Cocoa vs Dutch Cocoa you will learn the difference. This cake is rich enough on it’s own but sometimes I like adding a dollop of fresh cream on the side just to balance the richness, I don’t think it needs any icing but feel free to decorate them with buttercream icing should you wish. This cake is delicious as a tea-time treat or you can serve it as dessert, all the same it will be loved by all.

Super Moist Chocolate Cake
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    Super Moist Chocolate Cake
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius. In a large bowl, melt the 125g butter, add the hot water, oil and cocoa and mix well with a whisk
      2. Sift in the flour and add the sugar. Mix the half cup buttermilk with the 2 eggs and add to the mixture. Mix it well ensuring there are no lumps
      3. Pour mixture into a glass ovenproof dish, I used a 300mm x 220mm dish, lined with parchment paper or a baking pan and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes
      4. In the meantime mix the 70gram melted butter with the 3 tablespoon buttermilk,1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoon cocoa and the icing sugar. Use a whisk and mix into a smooth, velvety liquid.
      5. Whilst cake is still warm prick a few wholes into the cake and pour the liquid icing over the cake. Place cake in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to cool down before cutting into squares.
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      Almond Biscuits reminds me of the Greek Biscuits, Kourabiedes, these are not quite the same but they will do for now. I have tasted many amazing almond biscuits but this Almond Biscuit is simple, my middle name is simple. My kitchen smelled so amazing, these past few days, with all the aroma of freshly baked biscuits and sweetmeats, smelled like a bakery.  The smell of baked goods is so comforting in a home, I love it.

      I know almonds are really expensive but it’s ok to indulge in some Almond Biscuits occasionally. This recipe doesn’t need a whole lot of almonds, I just used half a cup of crushed almonds and the biscuits were still totally amazing. If you love almonds then this biscuit is sure to satisfy your taste buds. A friend did give me the recipe for the Greek version and I will try that soon, those biscuits require brandy and eggs so it’s why I didn’t use it for my Diwali baking. Baking biscuits is time-consuming and you’ve got to exercise patience when making them. I don’t have loads of patience but this is one time when I do try to relax and enjoy the process of baking and creating beautiful sweet treats. If you not comfortable with decorating then stick to simple decorating techniques, it will save you loads of stress. I know we all want to impress with our baking skills but simple things can also look pretty, as long as everything looks neat an edible you are good to go. You don’t want to spend hours trying to decorate if you not good at it and then it all turns into a sloppy mess, we eat with our eyes so if you have simple but attractive looking treats it will be eaten.  Everybody wasn’t born to decorate like a pro, I know I wasn’t.  So let’s keep things simple and stress-free.

      These almond biscuits are simply rolled into balls, baked, cooled and dipped into castor sugar and they still look amazing.

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      Almond Biscuits
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cream the butter and sugar using a food processor.
      2. Add the almonds and flour and mix until it forms a firm dough, not crumbly. You many not need all the flour so add a little at a time
      3. Divide dough into 24 balls and refrigerate for 5 minutes
      4. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 160 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until cooked. I usually tell my cookies are done when I can smell them. They will still be slightly soft when removed from the oven but it will harden when cold.
      5. Once biscuits are cool roll them in some castor sugar
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