Almond Spritz Cookies

Did you know that almond meal is just ground up almonds? Did you know that almond butter is also just ground up almonds? The key is the length of time that you grind the almonds. You can grind roasted almonds into a powdery form (almond meal), but if you keep going, the oils from the nut cause the powder to become a paste. That’s how you make any sort of nut butter. Try it at home sometime – it’s healthier than the store-bought stuff that’s generally laden with chemical preservatives.

I find it interesting that while I love the flavor of almonds, I can’t really stand them in any sort of solid form. I love almond meal in cookies and cakes, and almond flavoring, but if you put chunks of almonds into my food, I won’t eat them. It goes for all nuts actually. I will, however, eat them plain or in a trail mix. Go figure, call it a quirk.

Anyway, I have almond spritz cookies for you today. Except these didn’t spritz. The dough wasn’t wet enough to extrude properly. Either way, this recipe was almondy delicious and a hit at the BBQ I took them to. Since I couldn’t get the dough to come out of a cookie press, I rolled tablespoon-sized balls and slightly flattened them with a fork before baking.

For a hint of brightness and to really bring out the flavors, add the zest of one lemon to your cookie dough.

Almond “Spritz” Cookies | Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (about 70 degrees)
2/3 cup sugar (about 4 3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, beat yolk, cream, and almond extract with fork until combined; set aside. Grind almonds and 2 tablespoons of the flour in food processor until powdery and evenly fine, about 60 seconds. Combine almond mixture with remaining flour in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In standing mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer running at medium speed, add yolk/cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. With mixer running at low speed, gradually beat in flour/almond mixture until combined. Scrape down bowl and give final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
  3. If using cookie press to form cookies, follow manufacturer’s instructions to fill press; if using pastry bag, follow illustrations 1 through 3 below to fill bag. Press or pipe cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes; using metal spatula, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Chewy Brownies

Cook’s Illustrated, how I love thee. Your recipes are created using the scientific method, and it calls to the nerd in me. You tell me to use the finest ingredients, not because a company is sponsoring you, but because the products really are excellent. You give me a recipe for brownies that involves three types of chocolate.

Could you be any more perfect? I’d dress you up and take you home to meet the folks if I could.

Seriously.

Okay now, let’s talk about these brownies.

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