These thin, crisp and delicious biscuits have many different uses. The original recipe comes from Chez Panisse in Berkeley in California. I was lucky enough to spend a month in the kitchens there a few years ago. I tasted these biscuits there and have adjusted the recipe slightly to suit our measurements and ingredients in this part of the world. They can be served with tea and coffee. They are good with ice cream and sorbets. They are fine enough to be served as a petit four. I also serve them with a Blackberry and Apple Fool in the autumn and Mango Fool in winter. They are very handy as the slab of uncooked biscuit keeps in the freezer and you slice off thin sheets and cook them as needed.

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bread soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tblsp water
  • 300g soft, medium dark soft brown sugar
  • 110g flaked almonds, un-skinned if possible

Method

  • If possible, grind the cinnamon freshly for this recipe. This is easily done in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Otherwise, use the freshest ground cinnamon that you can find.
  • Flaked almonds, with their skins still attached, have a more interesting flavour than skinned ones. But if that is all you can find, these biscuits will still be delicious.
  • Sieve the flour and bread soda into a bowl. Melt the butter, cinnamon and water on a low heat until just melted. Do not allow to boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Stir with the almonds into the flour mixture.
  • Place the dough on a piece of strong plastic (not clingfilm) or parchment paper. Form this mixture into a neat rectangular slab, c 23cm wide, 2.5cm thick and 9cm long. I use the sides of a shallow baking tray to help me to achieve neat and straight edges. Freeze until set.
  • Slice into about 3mm thick slices and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, allowing a little room between the raw biscuits for expansion during the cooking.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350f/180c/gas 4 or until golden brown. Slide the biscuits still on the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Store in an airtight box or tin.