Nutty Valentine heart biscuits

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Preparation time: 30 minutes plus chilling time. Cooking time: 14-16 minutes Makes 20-24 sandwich biscuits Ingredients 6 oz / 170g ground almonds or hazelnuts 6oz / 170g plain flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp salt 4oz / 115g butter (at room temperature) 31/2oz / 100g caster sugar 1 medium egg 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional) Raspberry or strawberry jam Icing sugar for dusting Heart-shaped cookie-cutters in two sizes; one small, one larger. Method Mix the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon and salt together in a mixing bowl, set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy, this may be done by hand or in a food mixer. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the vanilla and almond extract if using. Beat half the egg mixture into the creamed sugar and butter, then beat in the other half. Continue to beat until combined. Add all the dry ingredients and mix gently by hand until all the ingredients have been combined. Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a disc, place in a polythene bag and chill for 2 hours in the fridge. If you want to make this ahead of the day, the dough can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or 2 months in the freezer. Preheat the oven to 190C / Gas Mark 5, and line two trays with greaseproof paper or a silicone baking mat. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the first piece of dough until it is about 1/4 inch / 0.5cm thick. Cut out as many heart-shapes as the dough can fit. Gather up the scraps with the second disc of dough and continue to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. Cut out the centres of half the cookies using a smaller heart-shaped cutter. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets and bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until the cookies are golden, dry, and firm to the touch. These cookies don’t spread so don’t have to be spaced out too far apart. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while the second batch is baking. Heat up some jam in the microwave or on the stove top until it is warm. Spread half to a teaspoon-full of jam on the cookie and place a cookie with a cut-out centre on top.  Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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