I am obsessed with cardamom. It's flavour is quite addictive. I recently added some to a curry recipe, also yesterday I tried making Masala Tea (in shot actually, I drank some with these biscuits), which is a mix of hot milk and water that has been infused for 20 minutes with cardamom pods, a shard of cinnamon, ginger root and black peppercorns in, then a tea bag is added at the end. It's so soothing and feels really healthy. These biccies are pretty healthy too: sure, they have a little butter and unrefined caster sugar in, but the ground almonds are wholesome, as is the wholegrain spelt flour that I've used. If you only have normal white or wholemeal flour in then of course it's fine to use that... but next time you're doing a shop, why not pick up some spelt flour? It's easy to get. You can replace normal flour with it, and it is much better for you. Spelt is an ancient grain that is much easier to digest and has other health benefits too, like being higher in protein than wheat flours, and containing more B vitamins, as well as being high in complex carbs - they are the good ones.
These were made on a morning when I had both kids (Art was ill - though he soon perked up when I started making these). They both got involved, there was flour everywhere (Bea was covered), and we still managed to produce something really very tasty. Hence, they can't be that hard can they?
Try them and let me know what you think!
To make 22 biscuits (or thereabouts):
50g unrefined caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g wholegrain spelt flour (or another flour, the healthier the better!)
15 cardamom pods
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Lightly grease the paper with a little butter.
- Using a pestle and mortar (or just the back of a spoon, or the flat side of a large knife), bash the pods to release the seeds. I threw it all in, husks and everything, but if you want a less rustic biscuit then simply take out the husks, leaving just the seeds. Or, you could finely slice the husks. Whatever, it's up to you.
- Start by beating your butter and sugar with an electric whisk. If you only have a normal whisk or wooden spoon they are fine to use too. Do this for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add your ground almonds, flour, and cardamom and mix well. It'll be quite dry now so add a tablespoon of whole milk. Make a soft pliable dough (it's quite wet at this stage).
- Dust your hands in flour to enable you to scrape the mixture out of the bowl. Shake some more flour onto a work surface and then plop your dough down. Squash it down to no more than 1cm thick. Dust a little more flour on top if it's sticky. You could roll it out but it's so soft just squashing or patting it down to the required thickness is easier I think.
- Use a pastry or cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out the biscuit shapes. Lay them carefully on the sheet. You could dust with more sugar here if you like.
- Bake for 15 minutes. They should be golden. I slightly overcooked mine as you can see they a weeny bit too dark! Pick them off the tray and let them cool on a wire rack if you have one. If not, it's fine to let them cool on the tray. Enjoy with a Masala tea. Or a builder's tea is fine too.