Icebox Biscuits

These delicate, crisp little biscuits are delicious eaten at tea time or with after dinner coffee. The dough must be chilled until it is completely firm, as it is too rich to be rolled out thinly enough if it is warm.

2 oz. unsalted butter

4 oz. castor sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon almond essence (optional)

4 oz. self-raising flour, sifted

2 oz. blanched hazelnuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and almond essence, if you are using it.

Fold in the flour. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts and combine the mixture thoroughly. With your hands, shape the mixture into a long roll, approximately 2-inches in diameter. Wrap the roll in greaseproof or waxed paper and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 12 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C). Line two large baking sheets with non-stick silicone paper and set them aside.

Remove the dough from the refrig-erator and unwrap it. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into very thin slices and transfer the slices to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them well apart as they spread during baking.

Place the baking sheets in the centre of the oven and bake the biscuits for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are crisp and lightly browned around the edges.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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