These really do melt in your mouth. You can serve them on their own with tea, coffee, a liqueur or just a glass of iced water. Sometimes I like to make up a dessert plate: a small pile of these, little baklava and a tiny glass of preserved fruits in sugar syrup. You will find you really have to eat these over a plate or pop a whole one in your mouth at once so that the icing sugar doesn’t fly everywhere. You will use a lot of icing sugar for dusting: you can always recycle some from the bottom, or sieve the leftover sugar of crumbs and put it back in your tin.


  • 250 g (9 oz) butter
  • 2 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar, plus about 300 g (10½ oz), for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 300 g (10½ oz) cake flour or plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.

Using electric beaters, beat the butter for 8–10 minutes until it is very pale and thick. Add the 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, beating it in well. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and whisk until well incorporated, then mix in the brandy. Sift in the flour and baking powder, mixing until you have a thick dough that becomes difficult to mix with the electric mixer. Scoop up softly in your hands, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Form the dough into small balls about the size of cherry tomatoes (these are often made into crescent shapes too) and put them on the tray, leaving a little space between them.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, line another tray with baking paper and sprinkle with half of the icing sugar. Take the slightly cooled biscuits and place them in one layer on top of the icing sugar. Sprinkle the rest of the icing sugar over the top (the biscuits should be almost buried in the sugar). Keep these in an airtight container.