Ah, King Valley in spring. I still think back to the lovely food, wine and memories from a road trip in early spring to this beautiful region. And it has inspired many Italian style recipes since, including this biscotti recipe that is loosely based on a recipe for almond biscotti biscuits in a regional tourist magazine.
It has been a busy month for me, buying a new home and selling my current home at auction. I can hear you thinking: didn’t Ms Frugal Ears just pay off her mortgage? Yup. And now I will need a new mortgage. ????? Not just that, but I am downsizing to an apartment. The reason is to be closer to my sons new school and to my work, and hopefully also to spend less time sitting on my fat bun in the car and more time out cycling and walking. I will blog about this more, but for now, back to baking.
Almonds are not exactly cheap, but they are one of the cheaper nuts. At the beginning for of the Christmas silly season I like to buy a large bag and use them for making various gifts. Ground almonds are very expensive at over $30 a kilo, depending on how much you buy. But I discovered that it is quite easy to grind up your own and save a fortune. And this recipe also uses up egg whites and highlights some of the candied orange peel that I made recently.
Egg whites are extremely alkaline and can be kept in the fridge (or frozen) for a very long time. I don’t want to admit how long mine have been in the back of the fridge. But they whipped up fine, and they tasted fine, and no-one would even know (except that I blogged about it). Shhh, don’t tell anyone.
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
Dash of almond essence (around half a spoon)
170g of almonds, whole or ground (see below)
2 1/2 tablespoons candied orange peel, cut finely
- Measure out the whole almonds and grind, skins and all. You can use a food processor, but I prefer to use a Mouli grinder I picked up at an op shop for $2 (my mother, who was with me at the time, said I would never use it so I am determined to prove to her that it was in fact a good investment).
- In a clean, dry bowl beat the egg whites until peaks form, then add the sugar and almond essence. Continue to beat until stiff.
- Gently fold in the candied orange peel and the almonds.
- Shape into balls using two spoons, and place on baking trays. Bake in a slow oven (around 140C) for 40 minutes or longer.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then drizzle the tops with chocolate.
Egg whites – leftover, free
Sugar – 10c
Almond essence – 10c
Almonds – $1.75
Orange peel – 10c
Chocolate – 20c
$2.25 (including chocolate) – makes 16 largish cookies