Thursday, May 19, 2011
The almond flavor in these cookies comes from almond meal. If you want more almond flavor, you could add almond extract instead of some or all of the vanilla. Personally, I like it more subtle.
You can buy almond meal at the grocery store, or make your own by chopping almonds in your food processor until you have a very fine meal. You don't want an almond butter, but you don't want chunks, either.
But here's the deal, you want blanched almonds which don't have the dark skin. For me, it's easier to buy almond meal than to hunt for blanched almonds, since they can be a little bit hard to find. And once you have the almond meal, you'll find all sorts of uses for it, I'm sure.
Almond Shortbread Refrigerator Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put the almond meal, sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.
Add the butter and pulse until the butter is no longer distinguishable in the mixture. It should look grainy, but you shouldn't see any pieces of butter.
Add the egg and vanilla, and pulse in 30-second bursts until the dough forms a ball. It won't happen immediately, but it will form.
Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a log about 9 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight , if you prefer.
When you want to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, slice the log into 1/4 inch pieces. Arrange them on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between them. You'll need a second baking sheet if you bake all of them at once.
Bake until just barely browned along the edges, about 18 minutes.
If you prefer, you can roll out the cookies and cut them with cookie cutters. They're bake a little quicker because the rolling will warm them up just a bit, and of course they'll be a little prettier. On the other hand, that rolling and cookie-cuttering makes them a little less easy. It's up to you.