Friday, February 7, 2014

Almond Cookies

Last Friday was Chinese New Year, so I suppose that I should have made these last week. I come across this type of cookie quite frequently, but I’m never sure that they are really, truly Chinese. I live in an area that has quite a few Asian bakeries and I never see anything like these cookies. The treats my Chinese colleague brought in for New Year were different too. Perhaps there is something authentic about these cookies, perhaps not. But I’m always game for an almond cookie.

I do have to say that my cookies don’t look nearly as nice as the ones on Daily Delicious, where I got the recipe. One of the main components of this cookie is almond meal/almond flour/ground almonds. I used what I had on hand, which is whole almonds that were ground. This included the almond skins, so you can see that in my cookies. I also had the hardest time finding blanched almonds. I could have made my own, but I finally found some Macrona almonds, which are from Spain. Spanish almonds in a Chinese almond cookie? Sure, why not.

This recipe makes about 28 cookies, a smaller batch than I typically make. They bake twice, and it’s hard to figure out if they are done (enough) to move on to the next stage. The cookies are not “done” after the first baking time, but set up nicely during the second bake. My cookies aren’t so beautifully golden brown, but they are golden along the edges. The cookies are crunchy on the outside but still remain a little chewy on the inside, and aren’t too sweet. While they may not look the best, these cookies have a wonderful almond flavor.

Almond Cookies
4-1/2 ounces butter, room temperature
6 ounces sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon almond extract
7 ounces flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5-1/4 ounces ground almonds
Whole blanched almonds
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light. Add the egg and stir to combine, then stir in the almond extract.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Add some of the flour mixture and stir, then stop the mixer, add some more of the mixture and stir again. Repeat until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead together, as needed, until the dough fully comes together.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Using a ½ teaspoon, make an indentation in the top of the ball. Place a whole blanched almond in the indentation. Brush the tops of the cookies with beaten egg.

Bake for 16 minutes, until slightly golden (the cookies will not be baked through). Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Place the cookies back on the baking sheet and brush again with beaten egg. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden and set. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Daily Delicious

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