Recipe: Gluten-free almond, apricot and orange flower water thumbprints

I have this tendency to, shall we say, overdo things a little bit, especially around Christmas. This manifests itself in a variety of ways, including way too many different carolling and church singing gigs in December, but it also tends to manifest in an insatiable urge to Bake All The Biscuits. And I do mean all of them.

So, for example, in December 2019 I baked four kinds of embossed shortbreads, including gluten-free and vegan variants; jam thumbprints; apricot and peach schnapps biscuits; vegan florentines, fancy decorated gingerbread; fancy decorated orange biscuits; vegan mince pies; little lemon curd tarts; walnut and cinnamon cookies; coconut and cherry macaroons; gluten free rum and raisin biscuits; pomegranate and pistachio almond biscuits (riffing on these biscuits here); little cheesy gluten-free biscuits; and little vegan mini-muffins.

And look, I distributed these fairly widely at work, at my various choirs, at Friendsmas dinner, and so forth.

But this doesn’t really explain why, on the Monday before Christmas, I became consumed with the conviction that I really didn’t have enough gluten free biscuits (note that the last four kinds of sweet biscuits mentioned above were all gluten free, and I also had gluten-free fancy shortbread), and really needed to make more.

Which I did, of course. And they were these biscuits, which came out surprisingly subtle and tasty and not too sweet, and definitely worthy of being recorded. So here we are then…

Your shopping list

300 g almond meal
2 egg whites, beaten until very frothy but not actually meringue
100 g caster sugar
1-2 tsp orange flower water (this is very much a To Taste thing)
apricot jam

Now what will you do with it?

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line a tray with baking paper.

Combine the almond meal, egg whites and sugar in a bowl, and mix well. Add a teaspoon of orange flower water and see what you think of the flavour. If you can’t taste it at all, keep adding more, 1/4 tsp at a time, until you reach a level you like. It will get a bit fainter with the baking.

Roll the dough into small balls, about the size of small walnuts, and put on a baking tray. Use your thumb to make a well in the middle, and fill this well with apricot jam.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden underneath.

Let cool on the tray.

Feed to anyone you haven’t already fed biscuits to, and maybe to some you have…


This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, but fairly heavily reliant on the nuts and the eggs! You could, of course, swap the almond meal for another nut-meal – I feel like hazelnut meal and plum jam would be lovely here, but in that case I’d omit the orange flower water.

A few biscuits. Note that I was only responsible for six of those platters, really quite restrained of me, don’t you think?
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