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.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

I don’t care that the holidays are over. I’m still going to pair peppermint and chocolate together. Just try and stop me! When they produce a cookie this good, you won’t think to protest either. If I hadn’t been too lazy to make the icing drizzle, they’d look a whole lot prettier, but 1) I hate dealing with powdered sugar (it gets EVERYWHERE), and 2) I don’t care if it looks pretty, just as long as it tastes fantastic. And these cookies do. Read on – I bet you’re intrigued.

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Sesame Almond Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Hi folks! Well I couldn’t resist. I had to think up a second recipe for Sophistimom’s and Challenge Dairy’s shortbread cookie contest. I was inspired to do a sort of east-meets-west cookie this time around. After some quick brainstorming, the ideas that I kept circling around back to were of Chinese sesame seed cookies and thoseĀ pink box almond cookies. Baked sesame seeds have such a unique, nutty, and oily flavor to them that I felt would work great in a shortbread. Continue reading

Orange Shortbread Cookies with Earl Grey Cream

Oh me, oh my. For anybody who’s ever been to a high tea service, you know that it’s all about the scones, tea sandwiches, and of course, the shortbread cookies. Oh and the tea. Obviously. Earl Grey is one of my favorite types of teas, and lucky for me, it’s also a popular choice for tea service.

So what better way to get my shortbread and tea fix than to combine both into a single bite-sized disk of deliciosity? (Yay for making up words.) I have to thank Sophistimom for pushing me to find the inspiration for this particular recipe. You see, she and Challenge Dairy are running a contest to win… get this… FREE BUTTER for a year. Those must be the two most beautiful words in existence. Put them next to each other and you get some cosmic pastry synergy going on. “Free” has to come first though, or else that creates a much sadder state of things. But I digress. On to the cookies! Continue reading

Icebox Pinwheel Cookies

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Well I’m alive after a vacation in NYC and the lovely parting gift I got there, affectionately named The Stomach Flu. As I start the ball rolling again, today I present to you icebox pinwheel cookies. According to my copy of Joy of Cooking, icebox cookies got their name because the cookie dough needed to be refrigerated before rolling and cutting, or slicing, or what have you not. The refrigeration is in fact optional, and if you’re impatient like I am most of the time, you can just skip that step and use the recipe below for drop cookies.

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Cinnamon Cookies

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Now that airlines don’t serve complimentary meals in-flight anymore, us passengers have become hard-pressed for even the slightest bit of sustenance on a cross-country flight. You’d be lucky to land a couple bags of peanuts and a small cup of something to drink. And if you’re flying American Airlines, you’d have to be a celebrity to get anything more than a cup of water it seems.

That said, have you ever been on a Delta Airlines flight? Delta actually gives you a choice between cookies or peanuts. Always get the cookies. Trust me.

Made by a company called Biscoff, these cookies that I speak of are delightfully crunchy cinnamon discs that I could probably eat about 1500 of. Om nom nom nom. I scoured the internet for the recipe, but couldn’t find an exact replica. So I decided to try this one in the hopes of hitting the cinnamon cookie jackpot. While the cookies the recipe yielded were delicious, they weren’t very close to the Biscoff cookies. These cookies are similar to snickerdoodles – wonderfully light and buttery – but Biscoff cookies are a bit denser and crunchy – more like “biscuit” cookies, actually. Alas, my search continues…

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

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Peanut butter and jelly. The American classic. There was one semester in college when I lived almost entirely off of PB&J sandwiches. I know a lot of people swear by grape jelly with their peanut butter, but I simply love strawberry in any form, so strawerry jelly is the way to go for me.

Recently I was trying out the peanut butter cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking. They were delicious straight out of the oven, but after they had cooled a bit, I felt that they lacked something in flavor. Maybe it was my subconcious telling me that the savory cookies were longing for their sweet and gooey partner in crime. It’s a good thing I had an extra jar of jelly sitting around!

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