Saturday, March 13, 2010

Almond Cookies

Many apologies for the delay in posting, as usual someone requested the recipe a while ago, but I haven't had time to actually write it down. Now that Tae Kwon Do winter camp is over (exhibit A in the "Things I Do to Support My Eating Habit" display), however, I can actually get back to being a semi-normal human being.

Or so I hope.

Anyway, here is the newest and greatest in the Sam Recipe File. For fellow Hydes, I'll comment that the almondness of these cookies always reminds me of the Spritz cookies we make every Christmas, but without the suspicious green food colouring. For everyone else, I'll just say that this is a d*@! fine cookie recipe.

The inspiration:

Now I live in a poor benighted state that does not have a single (I know this is shocking) Trader Joe's store anywhere within the state boundaries. The nearest TJs is about four hours away in Massachusetts. One of the things I really enjoy from TJ is their very tasty chocolate almonds, so when I saw that Costco was selling them I was a pretty happy bunny. Unfortunately, Costco's almonds aren't as good as TJ chocolate almonds, but they are pretty tasty nonetheless, and there were an awful lot of them. I quickly realized I probably could (but definitely should not) eat the whole lot by myself. So I decided to cookify know, for health reasons. (This made sense at the time. Really.)

Step 1:

Pulverize the heck out of the almonds. I used a blender for this. A food processor would also work. The only thing to watch out for is that you don't want to make almond butter here, so short quick pulses are better than turning the blender on and walking out of the room. You want small but not necessarily uniform pieces.

Step 2:

Make the cookie dough.

Blend well:

1/2 Cup (one stick) butter
2/3 Cup sugar (light brown sugar also works, or a mix of the two.)

Once this is completely blended together, add:

1 egg (or 1 egg worth of egg replacer, which is what I use).

Mix until completely blended together. Then add 1.5 teaspoons almond extract (anywhere between 1 and 2 is fine, I've settled on 1.5 as a happy medium, having tried 1, 1.5 and 2).

In separate bowl, combine:

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour

Add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, mix until incorporated (but stop mixing once this occurs, you don't want to overmix it). Then add whatever chopped up almonds you haven't snitched. Roll the cookies into balls, stick on a sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of flour if the cookie dough is sticky. If you're unsure, bake just one or two cookies. If they spread out too much, add a little more flour to the rest of the dough before baking.

Cookie dough before baking:

Cookies after I got all ambitious in a Martha Stewartesque fashion and added a chocolate almond to the top of each cookie before baking them:

As you can see, the cookies should look just barely done when you pull them out of the oven. Leave them to cool on the pan for about five minutes, then loosen with a spatula.

As a side note: it works really well if you roll the cookies out, stick them on a pan and freeze the dough. Once the dough is frozen you can stick it in a tupperware in your freezer and just pull it out whenever you need cookies in a hurry. This will add 2-5 minutes to your baking time, but otherwise nothing changes.

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