Creamy-sweet chocolate treasures

Vanilla horns, coconut kisses, Linzer eyes – the classic Christmas biscuits… Do you fancy something different? Every year in November our kitchen becomes a Christmas Bakery. The most important question is: “what type of biscuits and how many?” The first thought is always the classic Christmas biscuits – vanilla horns, coconut kisses? Our just Linzer eyes? Somehow, this year I fancy something different. The Silent Night chocolates in Wagrain-Kleinarl give me an idea – biscuits made with roasted almonds! Surely, there’s a recipe for them somewhere? After a short period of research, I find a good one. Mmmmmh they look tasty.

Let’s get cracking! Firstly, I prepare the dough: beat the softened butter for a short while with the sugar, then stir in two eggs. Add the flour and a pinch of salt, form the whole to a ball and put it in the fridge for around 45 minutes.In the meantime, I prepare the roasted almonds. According to the recipe, just boil water, sugar and cinnamon in a non-stick pan and add the almonds. Is it really that easy? Well, I’ll give it a go.

After a short bout of stirring, the water’s evaporated and the sugar is less crumbly. Strange, is it supposed to be like that? The recipe states “stir until stringy.“ But there are no strings in sight. More heat? Less stirring? Ah, there they are! So, I have done everything right. Surprisingly enough the almonds don’t stick together at all. To cool down, I place the roasted almonds on a cold oven tray, which I’ve already greased with butter. Mhhh, a Christmassy aroma throughout the whole house.
Perfect timing – just at that moment my timer pings that the resting time for the dough is over. I roll out the dough and form the biscuits with a circular cutter. At best, the number should be dividable by two, but if not, my sweet-toothed self can have a taster.
Whilst the biscuits are cooling after baking, I get to work on the filling. I warm the firm nougat over a water bath. You can leave it standing as we’ll need it again later. Meanwhile I chop some of roasted almonds and add them. I then spread the runny nougat over my biscuits and put another biscuit on top. Just like a sandwich. A little tip: if you put the filling on the underside of the biscuit, at the end the nicer side is visible on the outside. In my case irrelevant, as I’m going to dunk them in chocolate anyhow. Alternatively, you could fill them with jam. Let the filling dry out a little, so the biscuit pieces don’t disintegrate when you cover them.
Now it’s time for the chocolate. I melt the dark chocolate coating with a bit of cream over a water bath. It’s important that the chocolate is very runny. That way the biscuits get an even surface. “Dip the biscuits in the chocolate.“ Hmmm… they should be completely covered in chocolate., how am I supposed to achieve that without leaving prints? Oh, it’s even easier than I thought. Lay the biscuits in the chocolate, turn a few times with a fork and then lift out on the underside with a fork and place on a cake rack. I would never have thought it could work out so well. I put a roasted almond on the top, and my masterpiece is complete.

roasted almonds biscuits


For the dough, briefly beat the butter with the sugar until well combined.
Add the eggs and stir in.
Add the flour and salt and stir in briefly.
Form the dough into a ball, flatten and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the roasted almonds by putting the sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan and bringing to the boil while stirring (with a wooden spoon).
Add the unpeeled almonds and let everything boil until the liquid has completely evaporated. The mixture will foam up, but that's ok.
Once the liquid is gone, the sugar will crystallise again. Continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar starts to caramelise. If possible, do not caramelise the sugar completely.
When the almonds are covered with melted sugar, but with a few lumps of sugar also being whisked in, the roasted almonds are perfect.
Pour onto a baking tray with baking paper and spread with a wooden spoon. Do not touch them! You will burn your fingers!
Leave to cool and then break apart any almonds that stick together and store in an airtight container if you want to keep the almonds for longer (you can also do this step a day before).
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
Roll the dough out thinly (about 1/2 cm) on a floured surface and cut out circles about 4.5 cm in diameter.
Place on the baking tray and bake for 11-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack. Repeat until the pastry is completely used up.
For the filling, finely chop approx. 100g of the roasted almonds (the rest is for decoration) (if you have too large pieces, you will have problems later).
Put the nougat with the butter in a pan and melt over a bain-marie. Add the chopped almonds and fold in.
Spread the cream on half of the biscuits (works best with a piping bag with a large opening) and then press together with a second biscuit to form a sandwich.
Roughly chop the chocolate and then slowly melt it together with the butter over a pan of simmering water and stir until smooth.
Pull the biscuit sandwiches through the chocolate so that they are completely coated in chocolate, place on a wire rack, place a roasted almond on top and then leave to dry.

By the way, if any roasted almonds are left over, they make a good gift idea. Simply fill a small jar with roasted almonds, prepare a small label, stick it on and there you have it!
Photo credits: Belina Huttegger