Recipe: almond crunch cookies
Whenever I read the word doing I think of it as doing – as in sounds like boing. Anyway, you get another cookie recipe today because I made a veritable boat load of cookies yesterday. I really enjoy holiday baking except when I have surgery and then a head cold right before the holidays. I had to wait until I was fully well enough to 1) bake and 2) not make everything all nasty and sick because that would be a really unkind token of appreciation.
But wait! It is Teh Last Day of the Menu for Hope IV fundraising campaign. If you haven’t skidaddled yourself over there to bid on some prizes, please consider doing so now (and then come back to my post). Pim has neatly organized the prizes according to your statistical chances of winning if you should bid (and you should bid!). Thankfully, my prize is not listed under Great Chances, but under Good Chances. See, you have a good chance of winning this prize from me if you bid on UC01. Repeat – UC01. Just think, you could pay $10 for a raffle ticket to get a print of this image which was featured on the NPR website:
or you could pay considerably more $ for a straight purchase or persevere years of medical training and slice me open like my surgeon to get one. Uh, the raffle ticket is the definite no brainer.
So it was only a few posts back that I was raving about almond extract. Almonds are just about my favorite nut. Oh wait, I like hazelnuts too. And pistachios… and pine nuts… It really does rank up there for me. During my stint in Ithaca, New York, there was a bakery across the gorge from the geology department. I spent many a morning, afternoon, evening, and night walking over to grab sustenance. I gauged that a cookie could last me another hour of work, a bagel was good for 3 hours. They had these delightful almond crescent cookies half-dipped in dark chocolate that I would sometimes get for Jeremy on our mile walk home. Ever the baker, it wasn’t long before I began to think, “Why the #%@# am I paying $1.50 for a cookie when I could make this myself?” As graduate students, we were just above the poverty line. I called the bakery for the recipe and they gave me some bullshit reply like, “Oh, it has almonds, sugar, and egg whites in it.” What the hell kind of recipe is that?!
i know what goes in those cookies now
I searched through all of my recipe books, and you won’t believe where I found it. Mrs. Fields Cookie Book. Yup – the lady with the hair and the franchise! Perfect. Thank you, Debbie. Although Debbie likes the use of salted butter, I do not. I use unsalted butter and will add salt if necessary.
mix in ground almonds
I generally prefer to use skinned almonds when I have to ground them. I discovered that my store of skinned almonds was depleted, so I used whole almonds with skins. I know you can skin them by baking them briefly and then wrapping them in a towel to sweat them and then pop the almonds out of the skin. I’ve done it before and swore a lot. It’s actually much easier than skinning hazelnuts, which doesn’t mean that skinning almonds is so easy, but that skinning hazelnuts can turn you homicidal. I mean to say: the skins do not detract from the overall loveliness of the cookie.
roll in sliced almonds
You would be surprised at how much of the sliced almonds you go through when you roll the dough balls. Just make sure you have enough and then some.
A nice finishing touch is to drizzle dark chocolate glaze or dip in dark chocolate glaze. I didn’t do any of that, but I have in the past and it works fine. Debbie Fields lists her own dark chocolate glaze, but I prefer straight melted (tempered, if you will) good quality dark chocolate to her glaze. The recipe doesn’t yield a lot, so I typically double or quadruple it.
Almond Crunch Cookies
Mrs. Fields Cookie Book
1/2 cup salted butter, softened (Jen uses unsalted and didn’t add salt to this recipe)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 cup (1 oz.) almonds, ground in a food processor
1 cup flour
1 cup (4 oz.) sliced almonds
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (6 oz.) chocolate chips
2 tsps light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend butter and sugar to a grainy paste. Mix in egg and almond extract and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add ground almonds and flour and blend at low speed until just combined, taking care not to overmix. For dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in sliced almonds. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are golden along the edges. Remove and set on cooling rack.
Make the glaze: Scald cream in small saucepan and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently mix glaze until smooth, careful not to introduce too much air into the chocolate. When cookies are cool, drizzle or dip the cookies while glaze is warm. Refrigerate on waxed paper until glaze has set, about 10 minutes.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen.