When I get a book to review, I choose the recipes I would like to make, or that interest me, based on their titles alone. The actual recipes I make are chosen by the publisher, after I submit a request. I was sent Sweet to review and Struik Lifestyle gave me permission to make and blog Sam’s recipe for cranberry amaretti biscuits. I did not read further than the title until I was ready to go and buy the ingredients. Sam writes:
It was love at first bite the first time I ate these chewy little Italian almond biscuits. This recipe is adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2013), which is a great source of inspiration to me. I have used cranberries – which give the biscuits a slightly tart edge – instead of dried sour cherries, which are almost impossible to find in South Africa. In the original recipe they also added natural almond extract, but as that is not commercially available here and I don’t recommend the artificial alternative, I have left it out.
I though that this was my lucky day as I had just bought dried sour cherries from a new supplier. I followed Sam’s method to a tee but the mixture was sloppy and I could not shape the biscuits. I put a batch onto my baking tray and added 60g ground almonds to the rest of the mixture, until the mixture was firm enough to shape. I had only made half of the recipe which is what I often do when testing recipes that can easily be halved without affecting the outcome. I then made the rest of the biscuits as per Sam’s instructions. Below is the first go, showing the ones I made from the book, and the ones I made by adding more ground almonds. Not having ever tasted these, I must tell you that they were quite firm.
I then reached out to my network and a friend sent me the original recipe. I saw that the only difference between the two recipes, other than the almond extract, was 2 teaspoons of honey. I immediately wondered if 10mls of one ingredient could really make a recipe work? Once again I made half a batch and noticed in the method that they make a meringue with the honey and egg white. The recipe totally worked and Dave and I enjoyed these soft morsels throughout the day.
I have contacted the publisher for permission to reproduce the recipe on my blog, but as I have not heard back from them I decided to go ahead and make a slightly firmer biscuit, as I actually preferred them. I have also added in more sour cherries, as you can never have enough of them in my opinion. If you cannot get hold of sour cherries, use cranberries, dried apricots or even blueberries instead. I also used a little bit of cocoa powder to dust the amaretti biscuits.
- 100g ground almonds
- 60g caster sugar - I used fructose
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- A small pinch of salt
- 60g dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
- 1 egg white
- 8g honey
- 20g icing sugar, sifted, for rolling
- 1g cocoa powder for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 170° Celsius
- Place the ground almonds, caster sugar, zest and salt into a bowl
- Mix to combine and make sure you break up any lumps
- Add the cherries and mix in
- Place the egg white and honey into a mixing bowl
- Whisk until soft peaks form
- Gently fold the egg whites into the ground almond mixture
- Place the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl
- Mix well
- Using a spoon, scoop up the biscuit dough
- Drop into the icing sugar mix
- Roll to coat completely
- Place onto a lined baking tray
- Place the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray
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What I blogged July 27:
- three years ago – Parsley
- four years ago – Ginger Beef Patties
- five years ago – Deconstructed Lasagne With Exotic Mushrooms and Broccoli