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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Best Almond Cookies Ever

Recipe notes:
(1) I never use white sugar.  I use turbinado for brown sugar, and evaporated cane juice (yes, I know it's still processed, but at least it is not bleached) for everything else - even powdered sugar.  Generally, I just put a whole bag in the blender for 1 minute for super-fine sugar, and 3 minutes for powdered.  I'll also use my nutri-bullet thingy for smaller amounts if I am out (but still have full-sized sugar granules).

(2) This is an eggless recipe, as seems to be the tradition with almond cookies regardless of culture.  However, I've found most other recipes too dry, so I add some honey to help the dough stick together.  The result is a cookie a little more on the chewy side of crunchy instead of crumbly.

(3) These cookies spread a little, so make them small - I use a 1 tbsp measure and gently and quickly shape into a small flat round.

Makes 30-35 cookies, can be doubled.

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly toast 1 cup sliced almonds.

Cut up 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter into pieces, put in a medium bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter), let sit and soften while you measure the rest.

Sift before measuring, then sift together 3 times: 1/2 c corn starch, 1 c unbleached flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder

When butter is soft, beat until evenly smooth and lightened, slowly add 3/4 c powdered sugar (as mentioned above) and whip until light, smooth, and no granules are noticeable when you take a small taste.  Add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 tsp almond extract, 2 tbsp honey, beat again until evenly incorporated and lightened.  NOW PUT THE BEATERS AWAY AND GET A SPATULA.

Add flour and incorporate with a few quick slicing strokes until flour is almost completely blended into the butter, add the almonds and finish up the mixing in 5 or so strokes (less mixing = more tender cookies).

Make small 1 tbsp rounds on a cookie sheet, with enough distance to allow batter to spread a little, and bake for 8-10 minutes - until they just barely begin to golden.  LET SIT for 1-2 minutes BEFORE removing cookies from sheet and putting them on a cooling rack (they'll squish or crumble if you try to move them too soon).