When you talk of Christmas, you can’t help referring to food. Sure, if you ask my children they’d say it’s all about presents, but in the same breath, they’d probably tell you all about the abundance of treats we have during the festive season.
Mince pies for elevenses, stollen cake with afternoon hot chocolates and selection boxes for breakfast on the big day its self. We plan a meal which the whole family share, guests are offered Christmas snacks whatever the occasion and Quality Street chocolates mysteriously deplete quickly. There’s no denying it, food and Christmas go hand in hand.
And while I’m a traditional Christmas festival goer at heart, but I’m also curious about how others celebrate, I’ve also changed my diet for that of a more healthy, Mediterranean one this year, so it seems only fitting that when a challenge from Expedia to share a Christmas recipe, that I’m drawn to Spain.
I toyed with attempting a new savoury dish, but as I’ve been trying different biscuit and cookie recipes throughout the year, dabbling with some healthy alternatives, using almond butter as a base, Spanish Polvorones or Christmas almond cookies seemed only fitting. Using lightly roasted almonds, once finely ground on a food processor, they produce the most amazing and moreish melt in your mouth treat.
Spanish polvorones are traditionally eaten at Christmas and originate from the word polvoron meaning dust. They can be crumbly in nature, making them tricky to handle but my recipe is a much easier, moist one which I’ve found easier on the palate.
Once roasted and ground, the almonds act as a paste, combining the mixture together and the subtle nutty texture is sweetened by the hints of cinnamon. While the scent of the two while baking in the oven, create a warm christmassy feel to the air and are the perfect accompaniment to a mid-morning spiced chai latte or afternoon cup of tea.
Simple enough to make with children and the fuss-free method is a welcome relief from the rest of the pre Christmas stress.
Ingredients makes approx 16 cookies
– 220g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
– 80g (3/4 cups) whole almonds
– 5 oz butter
– (3/4 cups) granulated sugar
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180’c. Spread out the flour on a baking sheet and toast the flour for 5 minutes, shaking halfway through. Remove from the oven.
2. Now toast the almonds on a baking sheet for approximately 10 minutes or until them begin to darken slightly.
3. Transfer them to a food processor and blend them until they are finely ground.
4. Turn the oven down to 120’c
5. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter then add the sugar and cinnamon followed by the ground almonds and flour.
6. Bring the mixture together with your hands, cover your workspace with greaseproof paper, and press the mixture down flat to about 1/2″ and cut out your shapes using a cookie cutter.
7. Take the whole sheet and transfer it to a baking sheet then bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
8. Once cooked leave to cool, then dust lightly with icing sugar and using a spatula, transfer them carefully to an airtight tin where they should keep for a couple of days.
I’m collaborating with Experia and their Christmas world on a plate challenge