Posts Tagged ‘almond bread’

Almond Bread

There’s almost always a surplus of egg whites at our place.

These are usually turned into meringues, marshmallows or, if I’m feeling energetic, almond bread.

The secret to successful almond bread lies in the slicing – the thinner you can cut the slices, the crisper and more elegant the finished biscotti. I find it hard work, as the loaf is heavy and stiff, but the end results are always worth it.

This recipe  makes quite a large quantity, and we stash our surplus in airtight containers in the freezer – they defrost at a moment’s notice when guests arrive.

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 cup (150g) unblanched almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (we use homemade)

1. Preheat oven to 180C (360F) or 160C (320F) with fan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff (but don’t overbeat), then gradually add sugar, beating until the mix is thick and glossy.

3. Using a metal spoon, fold in flour, almonds, and vanilla, mixing well but gently.

4. Turn the batter into a small loaf pan which has been lined with parchment paper, smooth out the top and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Cool in the pan, then turn the loaf out (I usually leave the paper on), and wrap in foil. Refrigerate overnight.

5. The following day, preheat the oven to 150C (300F) or 140C (285F) with fan.  Remove the loaf from the fridge and cut it into thin, even slices using a strong but thin-bladed knife (sharpen it before you start) and lay them out on a parchment lined baking tray.   You’ll get lots of cookies, so make sure you have a couple of trays ready.  Be warned that this can be hard on your hands.  Some people use a mandolin to slice their almond bread, but I’ve never had any luck with this – the finished loaf is way too hard for my little hand-held cutter.

6. Bake the slices until golden and crisp. Start checking after 10 minutes – my last batch took about 18 minutes, but it varies depending on your oven and the thickness of your slices. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Tip: the aim is to get the slices thin enough so that they curl a little as they bake, but not so thin as to burn.  I didn’t quite manage that with most of mine, but these few wavy ones made me very happy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Ours was the perfect combination of faith, family, friends and food. Nearly all the gifts we received were edible and many of them homemade, which made them all the more special.

Andrea’s mum, Iris, made us a loaf of her Pan de Pascua.  Even though it translates literally to “Easter bread”, it’s traditionally eaten at Christmas in their native Chile. It’s richly flavoured with walnuts, dried fruits and subtle spices – sort of a cross between fruit cake, raisin toast and tea cake.  Iris’ recipe is an old family secret, so even if I can beg it from her, I won’t be allowed to share with you. So far all she’s confirmed is that it doesn’t have ginger in it…

Carol very kindly baked me some of her almond bread for Christmas, since she knows how much I love it!

Diana and I are both big fans of The River Cottage series, so when she saw medlar jelly at her local country markets, she bought us a jar to try.  It’s a deep amber colour and very softly set.

The Little General EVOO is one of our favourite gourmet oils – lovely neighbours Pete and El have kept us in stock for yet another year..

Dottie gave us a jar of her delicious yellow bean soy dressing – it was the perfect accompaniment to our leftover Christmas chicken!

My wonderful cousins gave us a set of hand-painted espresso cups and a jar of homemade cookies, which included these beautiful stained glass treats.

These are my aunt’s special achar pickles – sweet, hot and delicious.  They only last about two days in our house!

Gourmet treats from Cliff and Kathy included jars of organic fig relish, black olive pate, and New Zealand Beechwood Honeydew honey. The  honey is unique in that it’s not created from the nectar of flowers, but rather from the excretion of tiny insects that feed on the bark of the beech tree.

The chocolate teddies are from Aunt Anna, and I just managed to keep them from the boys long enough for a photo.

Maude made me jars of her lime pickle (which I love, but am always too lazy to make) and also gave us a bottle of porcini oil, which will be perfect in Pete’s wild mushroom risotto.

Joyce and Marty brought us a packet of single origin chocolate from their recent trip to the Margaret River in Western Australia.  These 75% cocoa buttons are from Tanzania.

Cousin Andrew grows Corregiola and Manzanillo olives in the Cudgegong Valley river flats in Mudgee, NSW and cold presses them into this very special extra virgin olive oil.  It’s fruity and full-bodied, with a delicious pepperiness.

Finally, a couple of very special bottles – the 2003 vintage rosé Moët  & Chandon is a gift from the gorgeous Terri, and the citrus (lemon) vodka was given to us by our old friends and neighbours, PeteV and Nic.  Does anyone have suggestions of what I can use the vodka for?  I don’t need any help with the Moët…

Did you give or receive any exciting food gifts this Christmas?  We’d love to hear about them!

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