Najafabad Biscuits

Simple, easy-to-make biscuits Najafabad Biscuits are subtly flavoured with essences and cloves. The low baking temperature gives the biscuits a light, almost sponge-like texture.

6 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter, softened

8 oz. flour

4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

6 oz. castor sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon almond essence

1 teaspoon vanilla essence grated rind of 1 lemon 8 to 10 whole blanched almonds, halved

Preheat the oven to cool 300 °F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet with the teaspoon of butter. Set aside.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cloves into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the remaining butter and the sugar together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg yolks. Add the almond and vanilla essences and lemon rind. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour mixture and stir until the mixture forms a soft dough.

Knead the dough lightly. Break off small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, fairly close together, and, using your fingertips, flatten them slightly. Press an almond half into each ball of dough.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C) and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are a pale golden brown and have spread into one another.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using a palette knife or spatula, carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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