Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Foto: Almond Cookies

There's no doubt about it. Kelli is a woman who loves her almonds. We've joked about it before - how even as a very young child, you could find her with a spatula in one hand, and a bottle of almond extract in the other. Invariably, as each December comes around and Kelli's birthday looms, I ask what kind of birthday cake she'd like me to bake for her and the response is always the same: almond cake.

This year was no different, but when all was said and done (and the almond cake was eaten) I had some leftover almond paste that I didn't need for the recipe. Not wanting it to go to waste, I set about concocting a gluten-free almond cookie recipe that would allow me to use the remaining almond paste.

Shortly after baking the inaugural batch, I went out for a day of backcountry skiing with two friends - Andrew and Josh - near Vail Pass. I was just out for the day, but they were staying the night at Jay's Cabin, one of the three huts that make up the Shrine Mountain Inn. Before heading up onto Shrine Ridge to ski, we stopped at Jay's Cabin so Andrew and Josh could drop off their overnight gear (no sense lugging that heavy stuff up the mountain to ski...). As we sat on the deck, overlooking the Gore Range north of Vail Pass, I pulled out a zip-top bag of my fresh almond cookies and passed it around. Upon taking a bite, Josh declared: "These are gluten-free? They taste just like my wife's grandmother's recipe!" Success.

Here's how to make them:

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup Artisan GF Flour Blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
6-8 oz GF almond paste
1 tsp GF vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
3. Beat in the egg, almond paste, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the xanthan gum, and then gradually mix in the flour until well blended.
5. Use a 1.5-inch cookie scoop to place dough balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. If using 6 oz almond paste, bake for about 9 minutes. If using 8 oz almond paste, bake for 11-12 minutes.


- Pete


Wendy said...

if you like almond cookies, or almond things in general you might want to check out
she does lot's of stuff with Almond flour. I've tried a bunch of her recipes and they are really good.
I don't see that she has an almond cookie recipe, which surprises me, but I tried her pecan shortbread and it was great! I wonder if you could make it almond shortbread??

I'm enjoying your blog. Come by and visit me at mine.

Stephanie said...

I love everything almond!!! Unfortunately I have had to give up my favorite snack of raw almonds temporarily (b/c of braces), but I've become a huge fan of baking w/ almonds/almond flour. I'm definitely trying this recipe :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

They look and sounds wonderful, Pete. I can imagine how these taste, that light almond flavoring versus the more dense almond flour cookies. I enjoy both, but this recipe really looks delicious. I've never used almond paste before. This recipe seems like a good reason to get some! And, you're right ... your friend's comment on them tasting like his grandmother's cookies is validation indeed. ;-)


peterbronski said...

Hi Wendy... Thanks for pointing us to Elana's Pantry. We're quite familiar with her blog. Kelli and I and Elana were back-to-back presenters at last year's Gluten-Free Culinary Summit in Denver! =)

Hi Stephanie... At least you only have to give up raw almonds temporarily! Enjoy the recipe!

Hi Shirley... I love using almond paste. It gives great almond flavor, and results in a moist, chewy texture...whether you're making a cake or cookies. Just make sure your almond paste is gluten-free. Not all are. I use Solo brand, but I'm sure there are others.

Cheers, Pete

Corbett Gordon said...

Where do you get or how do you make gluten free almond paste? Or is it all gluten free?

kellibronski said...

Hi Corbett - Not all almond paste is gluten free. When we purchase almond paste we buy the Solo brand, which is gluten free, however, we usually make our own. The recipe is in our cupcake book, and it is super simple to make. I prefer the texture of homemade almond paste as it is softer and easier to incorporate into recipes. Below is a quick version of how to make our almond paste.

Almond Paste
10oz (about 2 cups) blanched almonds
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon GF pure almond extract
1. Grind the almonds in a food processor until very fine, add the sugar and pulse to combine.
2. Add water and almond extract and process until very smooth.