Biscuit recipe of the week: Picnic Café’s famous macaroons

by Alison Hilton, Marketing Officer and biscuit sampler. Phillippa at Picnic

Fans of Picnic Café in Reading will share my excitement about this week’s recipe, which owner, Jon Amery has kindly agreed to share. Picnic is supplying the cake for the tea tent at the MERL Village Fete again this year, and Jon will be a judge on the Biscuit Bake-off panel. We mentioned these weekly biscuit recipes a little while ago to Jon, hinted at our preference for Picnic’s delicious macaroons and held our breath! Apparently it was a topic of some debate amongst Picnic staff as to whether the macaroon could be classed as a biscuit. Thankfully, it seems it can!

Last week, Phillippa and I decided to prove our dedication, and visited the café for a working lunch, which obviously had to include the famous macaroon (and some apple cake!) … it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it!

Anyway, here is that very special and surprisingly simple-looking recipe from Jon, who has (sadly?) scaled down quantities to make just 10 golf ball sized macaroons:

Picnic’s Macaroons

Mix together 440g of ground almond, 300g of caster sugar (we use an unrefined organic sugar from south America) and 4 egg whites until consistent in texture.

Shape into golf ball sized balls and place on a baking tray ensuring a 1” gap between balls Push (don’t place as they will fall off!) a whole almond on top.

Pop in a pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes on 180 C or until golden brown.

Have a go and let us know how they turn out! If you’re brave enough to put your version in front of Jon, why not enter the Biscuit Bake-off at the Village Fete on May 31st?!

Biscuit recipe of the week: Anzac biscuits

Since the recent launch of our Village Fete Biscuit Bake-off , we have started publishing a biscuit recipe each week to inspire you to practise baking biscuits and to enter the competition at the Fete on May. Our Librarians and archivists are digging out some interesting recipes from the MERL collections, and we’d also welcome suggestions of favourite recipes from our readers, but for today there’s one perfect biscuit…

At the launch event, one Toddler was very proud to show us his biscuits, and with a little prompting from mum, he was able to tell us confidently that they were Anzac Biscuits. Although I was familiar with the term ‘Anzac’, I’d never heard of the biscuits, but a little research revealed that they were originally made to send to the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) serving in Gallipoli.  Apparently they were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. This, along with the general scarcity in wartime, is why there are no eggs in these biscuits.

Anzac Day is celebrated on April 25th, and marks the anniversary of the landing in Gallipoli in 1915, a campaign which led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Andrew Palmer & Leo with his Anzac biscuits

Andrew Palmer and Leo with his Anzac biscuits at the launch event

Anzac Biscuit Recipe

This particular recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website. You can also try for some alternatives


  • 85g porridge oats
  • 85g desiccated coconut
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
  3. Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Give it a try and let us know how you get on! If you enjoy these biscuits, why not enter them into the Biscuit Bake-off at the MERL Village Fete on May 31st?!