Recipe: almond lace cookies
Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the foods I liked as a kid that came from the supermarket shelves are highly overrated. I’m sure you are familiar with the situation. You’re standing in the cookie aisle of the grocery store and you see a familiar brand. You buy it with an anticipation that is stirred by nostalgia. And the moment you take a bite you think, “This just isn’t as good as I remembered.” I find that time and again, the things I make at home are ten times better than what I can get from those shelves. Surprisingly, the recipes aren’t necessarily all that difficult! Take almond lace cookies, for instance. Super easy to make, a little dangerous, and you can skip the shipping step that breaks them into tiny shards!
you will need: flour, salt, sugar, butter, vanilla, almonds, light corn syrup
grind the blanched almonds to a fine meal
These crisp, buttery, nutty wafers come together in no time flat. It’s basically melting butter and sugars together, then stirring everything else in. The resulting batter is thick and oily (from the butter) and smells fantastic. Definitely line your baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper, lest you want molten sugar to adhere to your pans.
melt the butter, sugar, and light corn syrup together
stir in the flour and salt
stir in the almonds
You need only scoop a teaspoon of batter out per cookie. And if you’re tempted to make the scoops bigger, don’t be. They will spread about as flat as they can get in the oven. That means you need to give them spreading room. 3 inches between each scoop should be about right. If you want to roll the cookies into cigars, then the rolling needs to be done when they come out of the oven. It takes some practice. On my first cookie sheet, I was able to roll two cookies before they all cooled and hardened. But I got the hang of it, I was able to roll four before they turned too brittle to roll. The cookies and the pans are hot when they come out of the oven, so please be very careful handling them.
drop batter by the teaspoon
rolling a hot-out-of-the-oven cookie
lacy and delicate
After the cookies cool, you can serve them as-is or you can have some fun decorating them. I melted enough chocolate to pipe stripes across some flat cookies as well as dip the ends of some cigars. Before the chocolate on the cigars had set, I dipped the chocolate end in sprinkles and chopped pistachios. It makes the cookies even more festive.
piping a drizzle of chocolate
dipping a cigar
finishing with sprinkles
These are the perfect dainty cookies for a tea or similar gathering. They break at the slightest differential in pressure which means you should either expect crumbs all down your front or eat them over a plate (or a sink). I thought they were lovely, but could only eat one or two – lace cookies are quite buttery and sweet. Jeremy ate ALL of the ones with chocolate… not in one sitting, thank goodness. The ooh to effort ratio is quite good on this recipe and they’re fun to eat!
flat or cigar, with or without chocolate
Almond Lace Cookies
from Fine Cooking
2 oz. blanched almonds
2 1/2 oz. unsalted butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
2 tbsps (1 1/4 oz.) light corn syrup
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz.) flour
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
chopped nuts, sprinkles, or whatever else you want for decoration
Place oven racks in middle and upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind the almonds in a food processor to yield 1/2 cup. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, granulated sugar, and light corn syrup together over low heat. Stir until the butter and sugar dissolve. Increase the heat to medium high and stir constantly until the contents just begin to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour and salt until incorporated. Stir in the ground almonds and vanilla.
Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Drop batter by the teaspoon onto the baking sheets, 3 inches apart (they will spread). I was able to fit about 9 per 11×17 baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating by 180° and swapping the baking sheets after 5 minutes. If making cigars, carefully (they are quite hot!) roll the cookies one at a time on the handle of a wooden spoon. I used a knife to lift the edge up and over the handle. You will need to work quickly because the cookies will cool and become brittle after a few minutes. Or leave them flat. When firm, transfer to wire rack to cool.
Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering water bath (don’t let the bowl touch the water) or microwave for 30 seconds at a time on half power, stirring between each session, until mostly melted. Dip the cookies or drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies. If decorating, sprinkle the decoration or dip the chocolate-covered part of the cookie in the decoration while the chocolate is still wet. Set to dry on the cooled silpat or parchment. Makes 36 cookies.
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