Fennel & Thyme GF Bites
There is nothing better than a simple recipe that works, is delicious and easy. I can tell you that this is certainly one of them! These almond bites are a breeze to make and they have the added bonus of being gluten and dairy free. They are ridiculously moreish and even better, the pleasure comes guilt-free. I promise these will beat any store bought variety.
The beauty with this recipe is you can be as adventurous or as simple as you wish with the flavours. If you’re not a fennel and thyme fan you could try any kind of combination - chilli, olive, smokey paprika, perhaps a little parmesan. Tailor the flavours to your taste. There are so many possibilities! I do find this particular flavour pairing, along with a good pinch of sea salt, a winning combination.
My Mum has used almond meal in cakes for decades, and I have only now started to experiment with it in more of a savory way. There are so many delicious things to be made from meal! Almonds are cholesterol free and low in saturated fat, making them a great option for a smarter kind of snacking. They are packed with vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and protein. Almond meal is a really great flour replacement for those who have wheat allergies or are coeliac. These are my kind of biscuits for eating as a snack, or to bring out when entertaining.
To make these you will need-
1 ½ cups (150g) almond meal
2 tbs olive oil
good pinch of salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 sprigs fresh thyme
olive oil and sea salt to finish
You’ll also need grease proof paper for this recipe.
HOW IT'S DONE
In a small fry pan on medium heat, toast the fennel seeds for 2-3 minutes until they begin to pop and become fragrant. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl combine the almond meal, olive oil, egg and salt and mix until ingredients form a thick dough. Remove the sprigs of thyme from their stalks and add to mixture with the fennel seeds. Mix again until the herbs and spices are fully integrated.
Place a sheet of baking paper along your work surface and put half of the mixture onto the middle of the paper. Cover with an equal size sheet of baking paper. Using a rolling pin flatten the dough out to about 2mm thick, and remove the top layer of baking paper. Cut the dough into your desired shapes, I like squares but you could use a cookie cutter to make more interesting shapes if you like. I find it helps to lightly oil the edge of the knife if you’re going to cut the dough into squares. This will mean the dough won’t stick to the edge of the knife and you’ll end up with a cleaner cut and less mess. Once cut, gently brush a little olive oil onto the surface and sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes. Repeat with the second half of dough.
Keep the dough on the baking paper and transfer onto a baking tray. Pop into a pre-heated fan forced oven at 150 degrees. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to burn. I like to keep the temperature down to make sure I don’t. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and slightly golden. Sometimes I find I need to put the biscuits at the center of the dough in for a little longer if they have not crisped up enough.
Let the biscuits cool completely on the baking tray before breaking them apart from each other. Enjoy them as they are, or team them with a beautiful cheese. Experiment with the flavour combinations and let me know how you go! I’m thinking a chilli and paprika batch coming along this week…
Photography by Andy Stavert