More Christmas Memories and Recipes

More Christmas Memories and Recipes.

Almond Petit-Fours were one of my Mum’s staple Christmas treats, and I just loved eating them.  She would fill the centre of the ground almond small treat with either brightly-coloured glace cherries, almonds or angelica (the latter had to be hidden from my sister, who just loved the taste of the sweet crystallised herb).

She would serve them in the lovely little silver bowl, and I would just devour them.  They were so ‘moreish’, and she would threaten me with dire consequences if I crept in the pantry and pinched one or two from the tin.  Great Christmas memories.

Here is my Mum’s Almond Petit-Fours Recipe

Almond Petit-Fours Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook/Chill Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 20 - 24 little biscuits

This recipe for Almond Petits-Fours is one of my favourite Christmas Food Memories. My mum made these every Christmas, and I loved them. Crispy on the inside, slightly gooey on the inside. And when I spent holidays in Italy, near Lucca, lo and behold the local supermarket, Esselunga, used to package these for you on a lovely gold tray and wrap in cellophane with a big bow. Gorgeous with a glass of Grappa!


  • 2 egg whites (large eggs)
  • 180g (6 ozs) ground almonds
  • 90g (3 ozs) caster sugar
  • Few drops of almond essence
  • Knob of butter for whole almonds
  • To decorate:
  • Glace Cherries, Red and Yellow, Angelica, Whole skinned almonds (fried gently in butter until golden). I like the Marcona round fat little almonds.


  1. Put on oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1.
  2. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.
  3. Whisk egg-whites until stiff - fold in ground almonds, almond essence and sugar and mix well - the mixture should not be too stiff, or it will be difficult to pipe.
  4. Put a 1/2 inch star nozzle in a large piping bag, spoon the mixture into bag and pipe on to the baking parchment rounds about 3 cm (1 1/2 inches) in diameter, filling in centre and maybe make second outer circle on top. Or pipe fingers 4 - 5 cm long.
  5. If using almonds, fry gently in butter until golden. Decorate the centre of the rounds or fingers with the almonds, cherries or angelica and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.
  6. Let cool, then place in an air-tight tin. They should keep for a few days (but we eat them all quickly in our house).


* Cooking Time is 15 - 20 minutes

Almond Petit-Fours (with Shortbread at the back)

One of the other Christmas treats cooked by Mum was Shortbread.  Buttery, crisp and crunchy, it was heavenly.  To this day I have never eaten Shortbread that came even close to the wonderful taste of my Mum’s Shortbread.

Here is My Mum’s Shortbread Recipe, try it and see what I mean.

Shortbread - My Mum's Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook/Chill Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6

One of my abiding memories of my Mum's cooking. It was always a treat at Christmas. I have never found a shortbread that tasted better than this. Indeed, the bought Shortbread tastes bland compared to this.

Hope you enjoy my Mum's Shortbread Recipe - I have never tasted better.


  • 150g (5 ozs) plain flour
  • 30g (1 oz) ground rice
  • 60g (2 ozs) caster sugar
  • 120g (4 ozs) butter - slightly softened.
  • Dark chocolate - melted (Optional)


  1. Turn oven on to 150°C/300°F/gas Mark 2. (Slightly lower if a fan oven).
  2. Grease a baking tray, or use non-stick baking parchment, or a shortbread mould.
  3. Sift flour and sugar, and stir in ground rice. Keeping softened butter in one piece, using your fingers gradually work in the dry ingredients.
  4. When all mixed in well, pack into a well-floured mould, or a 7 inch (or 17/18cm) sandwich tin. Turn back out onto baking tray and prick all over with a fork.
  5. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until firm and golden. (I loved it a little bit burnt around the edges, but that's my choice). Take out of oven and dredge with sugar, and cut into fingers or wedges.
  6. You can decorate it further by dipping into melted dark chocolate. Very tempting.

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