Crispy Almond Cookies

Tonight I am having a little dinner party/meeting for the Writing Staff at work, courtesy of a “dinner party in a box” I won last month from Annie Chun’s.  The company provided some beautiful black sticky rice that will be paired with mango and coconut sauce as one dessert, but I wanted a couple of sweet options so I decided to go with a classic almond cookie.  As a child I was always really excited to eat at the local Chinese restaurant, as it was about as exotic a cuisine as you could get in Muncie, Indiana.  They always had a tray of bright yellow, sandy-textured almond cookies on the buffet, and I loved them.  This is a non-tinted, slightly more rustic version of those cookies:

When I started perusing recipes on the web they had one trend in common: lard.  Most of them also relied exclusively on almond extract for flavor, and I wanted some real almonds in the dough.  I finally settled on this recipe, which has an all-butter base and incorporates almond meal.  Lard or shortening would give you a slightly crispier texture, but these have that nice sandy texture I remember.  I made a few minor changes to the recipe, detailed here:

Crispy Almond Cookies

1 1/3 cups whole almond meal (or pulse whole almonds to get that amount)
1 cup of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup raw sugar (I used demarera sugar, but plain white is obviously fine)
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
thinly sliced almonds, as garnish

In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, mix together the almond meal, butter, and sea salt until only small bits of butter are visible.  Stir in one egg, the almond extract, sugar, and baking soda until combined.  Stir in the flour.  Dough will be stiff.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in waxed paper and chill for at least two hours, or until firm (I chilled the dough overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the remaining egg with a couple of teaspoons of water to make an egg wash.  Roll small balls of dough and place on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper or a silpat liner.  Lightly spray the bottom of a glass with cooking spray, and use it to press the dough into discs.  Top each disc with a sliced almond, and lightly coat with egg wash.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Thanks for reading,

-Angela FRS

4 Responses to Crispy Almond Cookies

  1. snappygourmet.com January 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Mmmmm, love almond cookies. Have fun at your party!

  2. Ang January 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    For some reason I always think Almond extract taste like cherry. Weird, I know. With that said, I really like that you added real almonds to these cookies. They look delicious!

    • Laura July 17, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Almonds extract is used to flavor maraschino (and other) cherries. That’s where their distinctive taste comes from.

  3. Angela FRS January 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Huh–that does make some sense to me, but I am not sure why!

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