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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Combine the bread mix and caster sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in 200ml of the milk, the melted butter, egg and half of the almond essence, then mix together swiftly with a wooden spoon. If it feels a little dry, add a dash more milk. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 mins until you have a dough that is smooth and springy. Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl, then cover and leave in a warm place for 1½-2 hrs, or until doubled in size.
Mix the raspberry jam and remaining almond essence together in a small bowl. Tip the dough out of its bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back (gently kneading it a few times to expel the air). Split the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces, then shape each one into a round and roll out to a diameter of about 10cm. Drop a level tsp of the jam into the centre of each round and fold in the ends to cover the jam so that it’s in the centre of the bun. Pinch the ends tightly together to seal. Arrange nine of the buns, pinched-side down, on a lined baking sheet in a circle. Place the remaining three in the centre, leaving a little space between each one so they can spread out. Cover loosely and leave for 1 hr more to double in size.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Bake for 20-25 mins in the centre of the oven until golden brown, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Mix the icing sugar and 3 tbsp water together to create a thick, glossy icing. Spread the icing over the buns and top each one with a glacé cherry, then sprinkle over the almonds. Leave the icing to set for at least 10 mins.