Almond Biscuits and…Starting School

Long, long ago when Archie was at pre-school there came a day when it was time to make that transition to big school.  I had booked Archie into a school that said you could only attend if you turned five before the end of the year.  Archie wouldn’t turn five until the January.  The school then said that if I felt he was ready for school he could come in for an assessment.

Almond Biscuits

Almond Biscuits about to go in the oven

I excitedly told Archie all about how he was going to spend a morning in the classroom at big school.  ‘I don’t want to go’, said Archie.

‘But you’ll get to meet your teacher and be in the classroom and sit on the mat with the other boys and girls and…’

‘I want to stay at pre-school’.

‘You won’t want to be at pre-school next year, Archie, because none of your friends will be there.  They’re all going to school’.

‘I don’t want to go to school’.  He was always such an easy, compliant child.

‘Well we’ll just go for a little while’.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

The day arrived.  Off we went and there were five children being assessed that morning and we were all taken into the classroom where we met the very young but extremely capable effervescent and enthusiastic teacher.  All the children being assessed were on their best behaviour except for Archie.  The children were all being settled into the classroom by the teacher and her helpers and then she said to Archie with her hand outstretched, ‘Hello Archie,  can I show you around my classroom?’

‘Go away’.

‘Oh, Archie’, I said, ‘This is your teacher and she’s being very nice so don’t be rude’.  And all the other mothers with the well behaved children were honing in on what they hoped was going to be high drama.

‘Don’t come any closer’, said Archie to the poor teacher causing the bystanders to take a step closer.

‘Well how about if I just crouch down like this?’  And she squatted down so she was at Archie’s level.

‘Okay’, said Archie, ‘But no closer’.

The parents were all told to leave so the assessments could begin.  I hoped Archie would behave himself.

We returned a few hours later and one by one given the outcome.  Two were told their child wasn’t ready for school, two were told their children were ready for school and then there was Archie.  ‘Unfortunately, due to a strong lack of co-operation, we have been unable to assess Archie.  We’ve actually never had this situation before.  Is he normally stubborn and non-compliant?  Because we weren’t able to get him to do a thing.  He just refused so it’s really difficult to know where he’s at.  I’ve had a chat to the head of the department and we think it would be best if you could bring Archie in again, on a day when he can be assessed on his own and not with other children.  Because what we noticed is that to get him to comply we’d have to give him 100% attention and it’s just not fair on the other children because they also need some attention.  So how does that sound?  Do you think you could bring him in again?’

Afternoon tea is ready

Afternoon tea is ready

I was so embarrassed especially with all the eaves-dropping mothers hovering around me gleaning wonderful information to share over that night’s dinner table.

‘Oh, I’m really sorry about that, he’s…’

‘We just couldn’t give him all the attention he seems to need’.

‘Well yes, I understand.  Uhm, okay, another day.  When would you like me to bring him back?

‘I’m not coming back’, yelled Archie.

‘Just be quiet’, I might have said fairly aggressively.  (This is when I started thinking about boarding school).

‘What about the same time next week?’

‘Sure, yes, we’ll be here.  So sorry about today.  I’ll have a few words to him.  Thanks for everything’, and off I scuttled with Archie running behind me.

I did have serious words to Archie and we did spend time at pre-school talking to his friends about them leaving soon to go to big school and it did seem that it finally dawned on Archie that he would be the only one left behind if he stayed on at pre-school.

The next week he was a different boy at his one-on-one assessment.  He even let the very lovely teacher give him a hug and hold his hand.  When I collected him at lunchtime she said he’d been a perfect child.  He’d completed the assessment without any issue and she and her team were convinced he was ready to start school.

Archie was put in that teacher’s class for Kindy and for Year 1.  She was one of his most favourite teachers and he adored her.  But every now and then I used to remind him of the time he said, ‘Don’t come any closer’.

When Archie did start school I would pick him up in the afternoon with a few edible treats to help him survive the half-hour journey home.  Home-baked biscuits were always popular.  These almond biscuits are quick and easy to make.

It's okay to have more than one

It’s okay to have more than one

Almond Biscuits

Makes:  20

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  Next to nothing.  Probably the only item to purchase is the blanched almonds for around $4.00.

  • 125g (4 oz) butter
  • 125g (4 oz) sugar
  • Few drops almond essence (if you don’t like the almond flavour, you could use vanilla or coconut essence)
  • 1 egg
  • 175g (6oz) flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 20 blanched almonds

Pre-heat oven to 180C (375F)

Cream butter, sugar and essence until light and fluffy.   Add egg and beat until well combined.  Mix in sifted flour and baking powder.  Roll into balls and place on baking paper on a baking tray.  Place a blanched almond in the centre of each biscuit.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Leave on the tray for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.  Transport to school for afternoon tea!

This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.

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  1. Ah kids. Gotta love em!

    These cookies would totally make me happy as an afternoon treat!

  2. would be so nice and delicious at five o’clock tea time in here 🙂 why don’t you come here! Thank you, love, nia

  3. It seems Archie’s trials and tribulations with school started all because he didn’t want to leave pre-school. Nonetheless, it worked out … so must be due to the after-school treats.

  4. You have the cutest kids Charlie! These cookies would make me very compliant too.


  5. Your gorgeous kids will never ever be called boring hun. I love reading your stories and you totally make me feel like I was in that assessment room with you. Oh and those biscuits so gave me a flashback to my own youth. xx

  6. My youngest was so ornery at that age…I can see him doing the same. A new challenge at every age 🙂

    PS…my mom loves these cookies…I must bake her a batch for our next visit!

  7. There’s something to be said for a simple cookie. That something may be… I need to make another batch, cuz I ate the first batch all in one shot, while sitting at my computer desk (not that it’s a common occurrence) !

  8. Perspective is indeed a wonderful thing. With all your stories, it’s a wonder he turned out so well! If it wasn’t for the structure and encouragement you provided, he wouldn’t be where he is today!
    I love almond cookies, going on my list for sure!

  9. It sounds like you had three very individual children to raise and managed to do so with great success. It may have been due to wonderful treats like these biscuits (aka cookies). They resemble the ones often served at Chinese all you can eat buffets I’ve been to which are always appreciated when you just need a little something sweet to round out your meal. 🙂

  10. Haha such a funny story. And time really freakin flies in life, its sad. This recipe looks delish. I love almond flavor in my baked goods.

  11. Ah Archie. He was lucky to have such a good school, they could have told you to come back the following year! 😀

  12. Everyone deserves a second chance indeed Charlie 🙂 These biscuits sound like the perfect treat after a hard day of having fun at school, yummo!
    I understand where Archie was coming from though, I often have the don’t-come-any-closer mindset… I’ve been told I have trust issues 🙂

  13. sccording to my parents i never wanted to go to school, id cling onto their legs with who knows wheree from strength to stop them leaving!

  14. Archie sounds like a pretty smart kid. Once he got the big picture, he knew which side his bread was buttered on, (so to speak). The biscuits look delicious.

  15. Heck, I still wouldn’t mind being in pre-school! Get to loaf around all day, play with toys and stuff, and not have to worry about life and all of that. But then someone gave me a cookie similar to the ones you made as a bribe to get me out of pre-school, and my life was downhill from there. 😉 Good story. And good recipe. Thanks.

  16. Gee, I think I have a story like that too! Archie!

  17. Gotta love kids, right?! These look marvelous!!

  18. Oh my, how embarrassing! Good thing it worked out in the end 🙂 These cookies look lovely my dear! I always HAVE to have a cookie with my afternoon tea, I would love some of these to try…

  19. The day will come when Archie will have his own little boy or girl…
    Great looking biscuits.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. I would have loved to have been sitting on your shoulder when your child told the teacher not to come any closer. Praise to her for getting down to his level.

    I’d go to school for one of those biscuits. 🙂

  21. Hehe I’m thinking back to that adorable boy saying “Don’t come any closer”! I’m glad that he finally cooperated though!

  22. What a little punk! Although, you have to give him points for his ingenuity, style and success. And the fact that his phrase of choice was “don’t come any closer” – that is just ridiculously funny!

  23. Love that Archie. And you really do have the best stories. How do you remember them all? I have perimenopausal brain. I can barely remember my own husband’s name. Maybe that’s because he’s my second one! XO.

  24. I wouldn’t mind a few of these on my 30 minute drive home from work either 😉

  25. I love these biscuits. We eat them a lot during Chinese New Year. I make a batch (or three) and gift them up to my relatives. They always go in a flash

  26. You really can relate a story, Charlie. I could almost see the other mothers inching closer so that they wouldn’t miss a thing. Glad it all worked out but, to be honest, I’m such a push-over for almond flavored cookies that I would have jumped through hoops if they were the reward. 🙂

  27. You are such a great story-teller. I remember my Zack’s first day of kinder, not primary, he cried, I cried. Day two? He smiled and waved goodbye. I cried again.

  28. –I love how you insert stories w/ your lush baking! Brilliant. Xx

  29. I had a similar issue with my oldest who was keen to start big school, but then had lots of dreams about being lost and going to find her kindy. In the end I got her all dressed up in her uniform and took her to kindy where she realised that all her friends were actually at school. She went off to school and the dreams stopped. Kids! They’re hard work some days.

  30. That is one great teacher, understanding and caring, glad Archie had her as his teacher for 2 years.

  31. How funny… now :/
    Both of my first two children had tendency to get me put in the naughty corner at school.
    What a lovely teacher though 🙂

  32. That first assessment must have been one of those parenting experiences you think will never happen to you, and then want to wipe from memory when it does! Children are so unpredictable sometimes. I’m sure there was some logic driving Archie’s behaviour (presumably that desire to not go to school!) but it must have been tough to see. Thank goodness he turned around and got such a lovely teacher to start his school years with.

  33. awww. That’s such a cute story about Archie as a kid. I remember detesting school to the core when I was younger too!! Ahhh.. those biscuits you’ve got there would have kept me sane! 🙂

  34. Time does go by so fast. Seems like yesterday when they were just in pre-school and before you know it…These cookies look like a great after school snack. A bit of sweet and a bit of protein. 🙂

  35. Hahaha, awww, I can just picture a little Archie. I love that he said “don’t come any closer!” That’s such a good story!

  36. your cookies are so round! i wish mine would turn out like that!

  37. I guess kids need their own time to digest what’s going on and understand while for parents everything is all clear and it was time to move on to next. It’s great that he had good friends at his preschool that he wants to stay there. You are great mom – you find time to bake for your family despite your busy schedule. 🙂

  38. What a funny little fellow! He definitely has had his own way with self-expression, and I think you may have seen the earliest stages of the artist’s temperament! 🙂 I’m actually amazed that the teacher was sensitive to him, requesting more time rather than simply determining the behavior indicated a lack of readiness for school! You get credit in my book, too, for your own sensitivity–some parents buckle under the scrutiny of other parents and end up being very disappointed in their own children! I wish my mom had baked delicious cookies to get me through the day…these are beautiful almond biscuits. I can’t wait to try them!

  39. Yum! I’m just off to school with some Anzac cookies, I used coconut sugar in them for the first time ever. I find them hideously sweet but the twins like them. These almond biscuits look much more my thing.

  40. LOL, your son sounds a lot like my little boy was. Very precocious and full of energy all the time. He was quite a stinker some times, but always wanted to be a good boy, he just found it hard to sit still and pay attention some times. We always had to make sure we had his full attention before giving him instructions or we may as well not even give them…gosh I miss that boy! Your biscuits look lovely! I love almond! xo

  41. What fun times! Our kids can embarrass us like no one else can. I had a few times when I wanted to crawl under the mat too. The right teacher can make all the difference though.

  42. These biscuits look delicious! I love how you’ve decorated them!

  43. Another great story about your beautiful boy. Kids are so clever aren’t they and what a fabulous teacher she must have been.

  44. What a lovely Mum you are, bringing your kids baked treats on the way home 🙂 I would definitely love a couple of these right now!

  45. Oh, that brings back memories – my mother used to make these cookies when I was a kid. Haven’t seen these in years. Must give them a try again sometime – I used to really enjoy them.

  46. Hahhaa i love how quickly Archie’s behaviour changed as soon as he knew that he was going to be the only one left behind in preschool poor kid hehe glad he was well-behaved and the teacher became his favourite 🙂

    These almond biscuits look great but damn a colleague of mine is nut allergic so now things that I make have to be nut-free hehe

  47. Archie is so cute……Charlie, you could write a book on your little big guy. He is just so adorable – or should I now say handsome – but more than that, he has been a poster child for every one of those children who have been through a difficult school life but then go on to realize their dreams.

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