An easy almond biscuit drizzled in chocolate, a French classic adapted from a Eugenie Brazier recipe.
Have you ever been afraid to learn how to bake? I
am have been, in the near past, maybe yesterday, or today, possibly.
It’s my lack of faith in most things baking that has perpetually held me back. Will the baking soda work? Is the yeast too old? Can I get the whipped cream right? Will it even whip up? If that’s even the term.
Cooking is safer, the process is more reliable. You only have to worry about bad recipes. After a while of cooking, you can tell if a recipe will work or not. Sometimes you get surprised, but not usually. Baking feels like a crap shoot, rolling the die, hoping.
I have set a goal to learn how to bake. I will be diving in, French pastries. Yep, yikes! I am really interested in learning how to bake the breads, croissants and pastries I had the fortune of eating in Paris. Why not start there? What can go wrong?
My first attempt is Eugenie Braziers recipe for Biscuit Aux Amandes, Almond biscuits. I have seen this type of pastry in a cookie form but Madame Brazier made this into a sheet cake which she then sliced into bars, with the option of drizzling chocolate on it. This looked doable, and it is. A good beginner recipe for a new baker, like me. The result was a nutty biscuit cake, semi-sweet, with a strong almond taste. This seems perfect for pairing with tea or coffee which is probably what she made this for. The original recipe doesn’t have a baking temp or time, just a ‘medium oven’ for a ‘few minutes’. My version is at 4ooF for 30 minutes. I guess ‘medium oven’ is relative to how hot your oven can get, which was probably a wood fired stove for Madame Brazier, so I’m guessing really hot.
Her recipe was also for a large crowd, surely for her patrons at her restaurant La Mere Brazier in Lyon, France, which still stands today. I wonder if Marlene Dietrich had her Biscuit Aux Amandes.
You can dive right into this recipe, you will need a good mixer though, to whip up the egg whites.
An easy venture into French baking. Almond biscuits are semi-sweet, nutty and easy to eat and bake.
- 2 1/4 cups of whole, raw almonds
- 1 cup of confectioners sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 3 Tbs all purpose flour
- 3 Tbs salted butter, softened
- oil or cooking spray
- 2 cups of chocolate pieces
- sliced almonds (optional for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place almonds in a food processor and pulverize into small pieces like oatmeal. Add confectioners sugar and mix in with a few more pulses of the food processor.
- Pour mixture into a large bowl, add egg yolks, flour and butter, set a side.
- In a mixer, whip up egg whites until foamy, fold into biscuit batter.
- Line a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil well.
- Pour batter into baking dish and spread thinly with spatula, no more than 3/4 inch high.
- Bake at 400F for 30 minutes or until biscuit is well set, toothpick comes out clean.
- Melt chocolate pieces in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until melted.
- Drizzle biscuits with melted chocolate and optional garnish of almond slices.
- Note- You can drizzle melted chocolate by scooping into a plastic bag, pushing the chocolate down into one corner of the bag by twisting the top, and then snipping the corner with scissors. A small snip will do. Sprinkle with sliced almonds if desired.
- Use a 7x10 baking pan or rimmed baking sheet, as long as the batter doesn't sit higher than 3/4 inch.