For those a little more cynical, this is a cheap alternative to buying presents for those who you really don’t want to. This Christmas Day, though, I’ll be working. I’ll be away from my family and from my home in the Shetland Isles for the first time in my short life. The table will be set for 4 instead of 5 and my dogs will be without their plentiful supply of scraps and satisfied hugs. I won’t be in charge of the Christmas dinner and I imagine it will be chaos. But one thing I will make sure is that my family, as well as their usual presents, will suffer a few of my culinary delights. This is a recipe that not only keeps well, but even improves with a few days or weeks to dry out. Wrap a few in some greaseproof paper and tie them up with string, and you’ve got a perfect wee parcel to send home to your family this Christmas. This year, let them know how much you care. With biscuits.
First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper (non-stick greaseproof paper) – no need to grease the paper.
Into a large bowl, separate out your egg whites. Save your yolks for later – add them to any cake for a super-rich version. Whisk the whites until fluffy, then keep going until they aren’t getting any bigger and are very stiff.
Add your sugar a little at a time, whisking all the time. Keeping going until you’ve got no sugar left. Your eggs should go really glossy and smooth.
Finally, add your almonds and your whisky (or preferred tipple) and mix together until smooth. You don’t want to keep all the air in – beat a little until the mixture slowly falls from your spoon.
Use big, heaped teaspoons to scoop little drops onto your tray – leave at least a couple of centimetres between each one. Place them in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a pale golden brown.
As your biscuits cool on the tray, melt your chocolate. Place three quarters of it in the microwave and pulse it in 20 second intervals, until JUST melted. Use a sharp knife to finely chop your final quarter of chocolate, and add it to your melted chocolate. Stir these together until smooth.
To finish, half-dip your biscuits in your melted dark chocolate, and place on a fresh sheet of greaseproof paper to dry. Enjoy within 2-3 weeks, and don’t be tempted to tuck in for at least a day or two.
These work brilliantly with whichever is your favourite tipple – Kirsch is more traditional, but Brandy, Gin and Triple Sec are all well suited. And the almonds aren’t even compulsory, if still advised – they can be swapped out for ground pecans or hazelnuts.