Home » Uncategorized » The bitter/sweet sides of almond biscuits

The bitter/sweet sides of almond biscuits

Georgian diners would have been well-advised to go easy on the ratafia drops. These biscuits are flavoured with bitter almonds, which can produce cyanide.

Although bitter almonds are used to make the almond extract we buy today, any toxicity is removed during the manufacturing process. And if you buy ground, flaked or whole almonds at the supermarket, these should be of the sweet almond variety, which isn’t poisonous.

So, if you’d like to try your hand at ratafia drops, make sure you miss out the bitter almonds and use a packet of ground nuts instead…

18th century recipe for Ratafia Drops from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies.

18th century recipe for Ratafia Drops from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies.

Ratifia Drops

Take half a pd of bitter almonds, pound them very fine. Put to them ye whites of 4 eggs, a pd of dubble refing sugar. Mix these well together, drop them in small drops & bake them.

If you have a taste for almondy treats, here’s another one: almond loaves

Georgian recipe for almond loaves from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Georgian recipe for almond loaves from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Almond Loaves

Beat half a pd of almonds in a morter a little. Then, beat them small with half a pd of fine sugar, dry’d. Then make them in round small balls & dry them in an over night in a stove. Then lick them all over with whites of eggs with a feather & bake them in an oven.

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