Chocolate Spiced Biscuits

In Austria it is customary to hang Chocolate Spiced Biscuits on the Christmas tree. Pierce a hole in each biscuit while it is still warm.


makes 60 pieces
165 g (5 1/2 oz) unblanched almonds, ground
50 g (2 oz) plain chocolate, grated
40 g (1 1/2 oz) candied orange and lemon peel, chopped small
5 g (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
5 g (1 tsp) ground cloves
3 egg whites
185 g (6 1/2 oz) icing sugar, sifted
ice cream wafers


50 g (2 oz) plain chocolate
50 g (2 oz) icing sugar, sifted


1. Mix together in a bowl the almonds, chocolate, candied peels and spices.

2. Make sure that the peels are separated and coated with nuts. Set aside.

3. Whisk the egg whites until they stand in firm, snowy peaks.

4. Sift over and beat in the icing sugar in three stages and continue beating for about 7 minutes by machine (15 minutes by hand) until the mixture is thick, satiny and very smooth.

5. Tip the nut mixture on to the meringue and use a large metal spoon to fold it in lightly.

6. Prepare the wafers by cutting them with sharp biscuit cutters into diamonds, squares or heart shapes.

7. Pile a little of the nut meringue mixture on each of the wafers and taper it up from the sides into the middle in a dome about 12 mm (1/2 in) high. Cover and leave to dry overnight in the kitchen.

8. Place the biscuits close together on a baking sheet — they do not rise — and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 for 25 minutes or until pale golden brown. Lay them to cool on a wire rack.

9. To make the icing, melt the chocolate with 1 1/2 tbsp of water in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

10. Stir to combine. Sift the icing sugar into another bowl and stir in 1 tbsp hot water, then blend in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.

11. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth to keep it moist. As soon as the biscuits are cool enough to handle, dip each one into the chocolate icing, holding it by the base.

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