Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Kate's Kitchen: Violet cookies

My daughter and I absolutely love the violet biscuits from Fortnum and Mason’s – they come in this really tall purple tin, their scent is amazing, and I was pretty sure that I could make a decent approximation myself… except I couldn’t find any violet essence. I searched for a long time and thought I’d end up having to buy it on the internet from Paris – but then one of my favourite kitchen shops brought out a new range of flavourings. Including violet, yay! So I grabbed a bottle and we planned to experiment with our own version. (There may be violet flavouring involved, next time I do the two-tone purple frosting on a cupcake…)

These are possibly the easiest cookies in the world to make. As they contain ground almonds, you’ll really need to keep an eye on them because they’ll catch quickly (and if you don’t preheat the oven, they will go very flat and burn at the edges). When they’re still warm, they’re slightly squidgy in the middle, but if you can bear to let them cool properly they’re very crunchy. You can also mess about with the flavourings – vanilla, grated orange rind, grated lemon rind, a pinch of cinnamon… Whatever takes your fancy :o)

Ingredients (makes 24): 
100g butter (at room temperature)
100g ground almonds
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
five drops of violet flavouring


Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/gas4 and prepare a couple of baking sheets. (You’ll fit about eight on an average tin.)

Mix the butter, sugar and flavouring together until well combined. (You can add crystallised violets here at this stage, if you wish.)

Fold in the flour and ground almonds until it forms a dough (I tend to do the very last bit with my hands).

Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

Cook for about 9 minutes (this does depend on your oven – keep an eye on them) and then place on a rack to cool.

Kate’s latest release is Behind the Film Star’s Smile. (This had the working title of ‘Me and You and a Dog Called Baloo’, but sadly the dog didn’t make the cover or the blurb!) You can find out more about the book, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)

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