Sunday, February 01, 2015
Chewy Apricot Cookies - The Great British Bake Off Calendar!
Little Boy Red was very clever this Christmas, and, at the tender age of 5 months old, he managed to pick me out "The Great British Bake Off, Official 2015 Calendar." Not only does it now hang proudly in my kitchen, allowing me to pencil in my plans for the week's baking, it also has a recipe a month for my baking pleasure.
These are a rather tasty sandwich biscuits indeed, although mine weren't really chewy, despite that being a title descriptor. I skimped rather on the jam, as I thought I had more jam than I did. I bulked it out with a little medlar jelly, but it still felt a rather mean quantity (you should fair better if you have the right amount of jam!).
I find it strange that they are called "apricot cookies" when it is only the filling that is apricot, and the recipe suggests you can fill with either apricot conserve or vanilla butter icing, but never mind!
I tried both the food processor and the by hand methods, as I realised after baking the first batch that once sandwiched, I wouldn't have enough biscuits for my needs!
From the Great British Bake Off 2015 Official Calendar
125g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 medium free-range egg (I used a large one, as I only ever buy large eggs)
3-4 drops almond essence (I used nearer 1/4 tsp)
20g flaked almonds (didn't have, so omitted)
200g apricot conserve or 1x quantity butter icing:
125g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar, for dusting
2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper
1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. To make the dough by hand, sift the flour, ground almonds and sugar into into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. I use a pastry blender, as I find it is just as effective, with slightly less effort, and less biscuit under the fingernails. Beat the egg and the almond essence in a small bowl using a fork, just to mix, then add to the flour mixture. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for a few seconds so it is thoroughly combined.
2. To make the dough in a food processor put the flour, ground almonds, and sugar into the processor bowl and pulse 3 or 4 times, just to combine the ingredients. Add the pieces of butter and process until the mixture looks sandy. Beat the egg with the almond essence in a small bowl using a fork, just to mix, then add to the processor through the feed tube while the machine is running. (I didn't, I just took the lid off and added it, because I always just get things down the side of the feed tube!) Stop the machine as soon as the dough comes together.
3. Tip the dough on to the worktop. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then roll the mixture into 16 walnut-sized balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart to allow for spreading (it may be necessary to bake in batches). Scatter the flaked almonds on top of the balls and press in very gently. Place in the heated oven and bake for 14-17 minutes until golden and just firm when gently pressed.
4. Remove from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheets, before peeling them off the baking paper. Use the apricot conserve or butter icing to sandwich pairs of cookies together, flat sides in, then dust with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
Butter Icing Method:
Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until paler in colour and very creamy.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and beat (on low speed if using an electric mixer) until very smooth and thick.
I'm entering this in #CookBlogShare