It’s quite literally a warm welcome to all things autumn here (as in, autumn in the island’s context), as the sun still continues to shine outside for the most part. Being fond of autumn and bright days, I’m enjoying the best of both worlds!
Looking through my snack stash, I found a perfect treat that brings a touch of coziness to a glorious day. Almond Thins entered my foodie radar during my customary browse at the biscuits aisle during my trip to the supermarket. With curiosity, I grabbed a box of these then-mysterious Belgian biscuits. While it is available all year round, it brings a lovely welcome to autumn especially because it also spelled ‘cozy’ to me as soon as I saw it!
When thinking of Belgium’s cuisine, the usual bites that pop into mind tend to be waffles, French fries, butter biscuits, and their heavenly Belgian chocolate. There is, however, another eat that joins the ranks of these famous bites in the Belgian food scene – Almond Thins. Having enjoyed my previous Belgian food-tasting experiences, I was elated to return to this realm for another mini adventure through this biscuit!
The Biscuit Trail
Known as ‘amandelbrood’ in Flemish and ‘pain d’amande’ in French, Almond Thins is adored by biscuit fans for its old-school flavor profile that continues to resonate with today’s foodies. It certainly seems to be a must-try for foodies who visit Belgium. Based on its full French name (pain d’amande des Flandres), the biscuit hails from the Flemish community. Beyond Belgium, it is especially enjoyed in Northern France, which borders the Flanders part of Belgium.
When my sleuthing boots led me to the Almond Thins’ existence in the baking realm, it became apparent that these biscuits are a hit with bakers as its recipe is relatively uncomplicated. This is primarily because the ingredients are pantry staples for baking enthusiasts. Sliced almonds, butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, water, baking soda and flour are the core ingredients. Plus, the instructions are hassle-free too – the gist of it comprises of mixing the dry ingredients with a melted butter-sugar-cinnamon/spice mixture, followed by adding the almonds.
Additionally, I realized that this humble biscuit is rich in history as its existence dates back to the 19th century. One of my favorite parts about taking a metaphoric walk through the biscuit trail is learning about some bakeries and bakers that have been baking Almond Thins for years, as they have their own fascinating stories to share about the biscuit. It turns out that Jules Destrooper, the baker behind the biscuit brand of my box of Almond Thins, had his own fabulous moments with this biscuit in particular – one of which was his sweet victory of winning la medaille d’or (the gold medal) at the food fair in Paris in 1911.
Hallo & Salut, Almond Thins!
The time had finally arrived for me to unbox these biscuits for some teatime munchies! A tray with 4 compartments was revealed upon unboxing the biscuit box, with a stack of 7 biscuits in each of these compartments. The tray’s 4 sections are attached, but they are sealed in two’s.
These biscuits reflect the name ‘Almond Thins’ perfectly. Each of them are thin and crispy-looking, with pieces of finely-sliced almonds that are embedded into the biscuit batter. Although the Almond Thins are considerably thinner than regular biscuits, they are thicker than a single wafer piece. Picking up a piece to examine closely, I realized that it does look like a rustic biscuit from the front, but its appearance reminds me of sliced rye bread when it’s flipped to the back!
From the get-go, the simple flavors possess a nostalgic yet timeless charm. These biscuits have a butter biscuit-like soul, with a balanced taste of butter. It is nicely nutty as well, with the almonds – which are from Valencia, Spain – taking a co-starring role to butter flavor-wise rather than a solo lead role.
It turns out that cinnamon is not an ingredient in these Almond Thins. I reckon this is because the recipe is more so a nod to butter biscuits rather than spiced biscuits. Nevertheless, it’s a delicious treat. Non-sweet tooths would enjoy them too, as it is mildly sweet – ‘candy sugar’ is the element that brings this gentle sweetness. As it isn’t on the highly-sweet side, the biscuits’ collective flavor shines more to my taste buds.
Along with being a snack for biscuit/cookie-lovers, the biscuits bring relaxed teatime vibes that are fit for an afternoon break. From both texture and taste, the Almond Thins perfectly complement a cup of tea or coffee. Being crunchy and firm, they would be up the alley of anyone who considers themselves a ‘biscuit dipper’ when it comes to their favorite hot beverage. For non-biscuit dippers (like me!), enjoying them with a drink on the side is equally pleasant.
All in all, the Almond Thins are a pleasant afternoon snack. Plus, they are highly additive… I couldn’t stop at just one piece! It’s now my favorite biscuit out of the Jules Destrooper selections that I’ve tasted. Along with being a perfect autumn bite, it would make a delightful presence to Christmas biscuit platters as well, since it is the kind of biscuit that brings snug feelings.