2013 is almost coming to an end.
It’s been a year full of ups and downs, challenges and accomplishments, and I’ve learned so many life, love, and work lessons that helped me grow as a person. Not only did I start this blog in 2013, but I also had the amazing opportunity to travel to New York to pursue my passion in graphic design and get lost in a big city full of opportunities and inspirations. I’m simply amazed at how much I enjoy the work that I do today (my full time job, freelance work, and baking blog!) and how many awesome people I get to meet everyday. I’m so grateful for having incredible parents, family, and friends who have been encouraging me and supporting all of my decisions. I’m also grateful for the people who have been following Brownie Box; the past few months have been slow but I’m working hard and putting a lot of effort into every single post.
We’re still in the stretch of the holidays and some of you might be relieved that Christmas is over because of the copious amount of FOOD we ate for 3 days straight, but I’m not done baking. In fact, I’m still using the “Christmas/New Year” excuse to constantly replenish the supply of cookies and chocolate.
Today’s post is about these incredibly chewy almond cookies. I still can’t believe that I recently discovered this recipe. It’s so GOOD it’s making me sad that I just started baking these; they’re perfect with coffee, tea, or even dipped in chocolate ganache! I seriously can’t stop munching on them all day.
The recipe calls for almond paste: a combination of almond meal and sugar in equal quantities mixed with a little bit egg white to hold the ingredients together. You can buy almond paste at the grocery store or make your own (see below!) because it’s tastier and more economical. Now there’s a difference between marzipan and almond paste: the former is sweeter and commonly used for decoration purposes – like fondant. Almond paste contains double the amount of almonds, which is perfect for baked goods because of its intense flavor.
I guarantee that everyone will love these cookies because they are so light and versatile! What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe?
• Almond Paste:
150 grams (1¼ cup) halved blanched almonds
150 grams (¾ cup) powdered sugar
1 egg white
Note: This recipe yields 8½ oz. (250 gr.) of almond paste. The cookies recipe calls for 3½ oz. (100 gr.), so you can freeze the rest or double the cookie recipe!
1. Place almonds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process the almonds until they are very finely ground, stopping periodically to scrape the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the sugar and egg white, process until smooth.
3. Knead the dough on a working surface until firm and smooth (you can also use a dough hook).
• Cookies: Yields ~ 36 cookies
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
1 stick (113 grams, ½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3½ oz. (100 grams) almond paste
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1. Beat together the egg and sugar using a stand or hand mixer.
2. Add the softened butter, almond paste, and vanilla. Continue mixing until homogeneous.
3. Add the sifted flour and salt to the egg mixture. Then mix by hand or using a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Shape the dough into a disk and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 320ºF or 160ºC.
5. Transfer dough to a large parchment paper that fits a 19″x13″ inch baking sheet (48×32 cm). Press down the dough with a rolling pin and move it from the center out to form a flat dough of ¼” inch or 0.5 cm in thickness.
6. Cut out the dough using a cookie cutter. (Note: you can also shape the dough into small balls and flatten them with the palm of your hand).
7. Bake for 12 minutes (the cookies will stay white and soft), take out the baking sheet of the oven, and let cool completely until they harden.