Lenka, who is from the Czech Republic, still smiles when she recalls many a Christmas standing in the kitchen all day making these biscuits with her mother and younger brother while her father hovered around for ‘quality control’. She has continued the tradition and bakes them every year. Her house smelled heavenly when we walked in and we are sure your friends and family will love these delightful treats.
Has this recipe been in your family a long time? Yes, it was my grandmother’s and probably her mother’s before that. My mother used to let us ‘help’ her make them from the time I was four years old. Then she’d spend a couple of hours cleaning up the mess we left behind.
For the jam topping
To prepare the dough
Mix the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the yolks and vanilla and mix until combined. Then mix the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture slowly and mix until well incorporated. Let the dough rest in the fridge for an hour or preferably overnight as it makes the dough even better.
To bake the biscuits
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the dough to about 1cm thickness. Using a 6cm round (or star-shaped) cookie cutter, cut out the biscuits. Transfer the raw biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the remaining dough, roll it out and repeat the process. Use your smallest cookie cutter to make a hole in the centre of half the biscuits. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin turning brown. Remove them from the oven, allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack.
To fill the biscuits
Place the biscuits with the holes on a cookie sheet and sift with icing sugar over the tops. Turn the remaining biscuits flat-side up and put half a teaspoon of jam onto the centre, spreading it slightly. Top with the sugar-dusted biscuits.