Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional oven (356° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Adjust metal racks to the middle groove of the oven. Prepare two shallow baking trays lined with silicone baking mats (alternatively, use non-stick baking paper).
Place the ground almonds and icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Transfer half of the almond meal and icing sugar mixture dough to a second mixing bowl – half will be used to make plain almond biscuits and half for orange flavoured almond biscuits. Place 50g icing sugar into a third bowl
Use a fork to lightly whisk two egg whites.
To make the Almond biscuits, gradually pour enough egg white (a little over ½) into one of the mixing bowls, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to form a firm paste. Add the almond essence and mix to combine.
For the plain almond biscuits, spoon the dough with the egg white into a disposable piping bag fitted with a 6B star nozzle. Pipe half of the plain almond dough, about the size of a 50-cent coin onto one of the shallow baking trays lined with a silicone baking mat (or non-stick baking paper). Roll a spoonful of the remaining dough into a ball and place in the small bowl with icing sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining plain almond biscuit dough. Alternatively, use extra icing sugar to coat all of the plain almond biscuits rather than only half.
Push a glacé cherry into half of the plain almond biscuits and a whole almond into the remaining half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the Almond biscuits with orange flavour, place the orange juice, zest and orange essence into the second bowl with almond meal and icing sugar mixture. Gradually pour enough egg white into the mixing bowl, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to form a firm paste.
Roll a spoonful of the dough into a ball and place in the small bowl with icing sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough and place onto the second baking tray lined with a silicone baking mat (or non-stick baking paper). Place a whole almond into the orange-flavoured almond biscuits. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the plain almond biscuits from the fridge and bake, for 10-12 minutes.
Remove the orange flavoured almond biscuits from the fridge and bake, for 10-12 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. The Almond biscuits will be pale and a little soft to the touch when removing from the oven – they should not be coloured/golden. Buon appetito!