I have to admit these were the trickiest of all cookies and in part are my least favourite but also one of my favourite. These two toned discs are a cause of contention. I've tested these to death except for some of the methods to fill them as noted in my recipe. the main thing is, don't expect the filling to be very set when you go to assemble the cookies. You can always mix up the flavouring if you like, I do think a Battenberg cake needs something though otherwise it's just very one note with a bit of food colouring in.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes plus chilling (overnight)
Baking Time 17 minutes
170g Ground almonds
160g Icing sugar
4 Eggs, large
3 tsp Almond extract
1/4 tsp Rose water
Pink food colouring (liquid gel is recommended)
250g Unsalted butter (softened)
200g Light brown sugar
175 Caster sugar
400g Plain flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Fine salt
Freestanding mixer with paddle
Baking sheet (ideally aluminium)
Add the ground almonds, icing sugar, and 2 eggs to a bowl. Stir until combined.
Transfer half of the mixture to another bowl, add 1 teaspoon of almond extract and stir again.
To the other bowl add the rose water and a dab of pink food colouring and again stir until combined. I would aim for a vibrant pink but I’ll leave it to your discretion.
I will now give you 3 options for what you do next although this recipe has only been tested using the third option.
1) Pop the bowls in the fridge as is. I should note the mixture won’t really firm up but you should be able to spoon the fillings onto the discs of dough when it comes to forming the cookies later.
2) Again pop the bowls into the fridge with the intention of transferring the mixtures into piping bags for the filling of the cookies. This will be a little more manageable but obviously add to the washing up.
3) Spread one of the mixtures onto a sheet of baking parchment about 30 centimetres long and a few centimetres wide. Dollop the other mixture onto and gently smooth out with a spatula. Try not the mix the two fillings together. Roll the parchment up to form a sausage, twist the ends to close and pop it into the freezer. If you have a weak freezer like me then this won’t set hard but it will firm up enough to portion for filling the cookies.
For all 3 of these options you want the dough to sit and chill for at least an hour.
Add the butter, light brown sugar, and caster sugar to the bowl of the mixer and beat on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until you have a very light and fluffy mixture.
Add 2 teaspoons of almond extract and 2 large eggs and beat for a couple of seconds until combined.
Add the flour, bicarb, and salt and beat for a couple of seconds until combined. Scrape the sides down using a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
Take a sheet of baking parchment and place the dough onto. Shape the dough into a wide, long sausage and roll up before popping it into fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Take the dough out of the fridge, slice into 32 equal rounds.
Remove the filling and slice into 16 portions.
Take a disc of dough, flatten it a bit in your hand and set aside. Take another pies of dough, flatten it and add a portion of filling into the middle. I found it easiest to just scoop the filling with a spoon. It may be a little soft but it’s actually not messy. If you followed option 1 then you want a spoonful of both fillings. If you followed option 2 then pipe a dollop of each filling into the middle.
Take the first piece of flattened dough, place on top, seal the edges, and roll into a ball.
Place the ball onto the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Pop the sheet back into the fridge, ideally overnight, so the dough balls can firm up.
When you are ready to bake the cookies preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Slide the baking sheet out of the fridge and leave the dough balls on the shelf.
Once the oven has warmed up line the baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Place approx 6/8 balls spaced about 10cm apart from each other onto the baking parchment.
Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 17 minutes.
Once the time is up remove the tray from the oven. Slide the parchment carefully, with the cookies, onto the worktop. Re-line with more paper and bake your next batch.
After the cookies have rested for a couple of minutes they should be firm enough for you to transfer onto a wire rack to fully cool. Don’t forget they will get firmer as they cool, as tempting as it is to immediately eat them straight from the oven. Like some things in life, patience pays off.