One of the reasons why I love fall and winter more than the other two seasons is that spending the day in bed is not totally ludicrous. With all that gloomy weather, where else would be you be? Unlike in summer when staying home all day sounds rather hermit-ish, winter weekends were made to be lazy. In fact, in the dead of winter, I rarely leave my house if at all possible. besides grabbing the prerequisite cup of coffee and a trip to the library or bookstore, I could stay home all day in my pj’s and then maybe eventually wander out for dinner with friends. But that was a BIG maybe…
About a week ago, my neck of the woods had its first bout of fall-like weather. Cloudy skies and a cold breeze is enough to send everyone in to a tizzy. Forecasters were predicting possible rainfall! Gusty winds! Oh no! But, you know me, I was excited. This all translated in to baking time for me.
I whipped out my almost-due-to-the-library “Essential Baker” by Carole Bloom, a HUGE collection of recipes useful for any baker, novice to advanced. I particularily enjoyed the wide array of recipes and ingredients Bloom uses. Baking can be boring if you don’t step out of the box and this book asks you to do that. The one downfall of the book was it’s organization. Ashley from Eat Me, Delicious and I agreed that we both were confused about the way the book was broken up. The recipes were indexed by their ingredients, which seems like a good idea at first, but it makes finding the recipe for a certain cake or tart that much more difficult. After having the book for almost 2 weeks, I still felt like I hadn’t seen all the recipes and sure enough, I’d stumble upon one or two and be like, “Where did that come from?!”
That is exactly how I found this recipe. Sifting through the book, wrapped up in my comforter, I was thinking about make another delicious recipe until I found this one for almond butter rounds. The cookie combines the salty flavors of the almonds with a sweet sugary bite. I quickly made the dough in the morning, then promptly returned back to my bed to watch “Dear Frankie”.
Four hours later, here was the scene: the dough chilled, me hungry for a sweet snack, oven all ready. Talk about fate. Much like a shortbread, the cookie is thick and has a sandy texture. It goes well with a cup of coffee, or tea, in fact you might need a sip or two to wash down the crumbly bits left in your mouth. I personally prefer these cookies to most plain shortbread because I enjoy the way the almonds were used in the cookie.
I expect these cookies will be made more frequently in my home, especially during the winter months when the promise of a warm kitchen and a sweet/salty snack calls my name. By the way, if you are curious, that is a Toast catalog dedicated solely to pajamas and loungewear which arrived that day. Coincidence? I think not.
Almond Butter Rounds
Origin: The Essential Baker from Carole Bloom
Yield: 5 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 3-4 hours
● 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
● 1/2 cup granulated sugar
● 1 cup almonds, ground
● 1 large eggs, room temperature
● 2 tsp vanilla extract
● 2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1/4 tsp salt
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Use the flat beater attachment or a hand-held mixer to beat the butter until it’s fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, and cream together completely, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the almonds to the butter mixture and blend together thoroughly, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg and vanilla together in a small bowl, then add to the butter mixture and beat together thoroughly.
Mix the flour and salt together, then add in 3 stages to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition. Stop and scrape down thes ides and bottom of the bowl between each addition to ensure even mixing.
Divide the dough in half and place each part on a large piece of waxed paper. Use the waxed paper to shape and roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches long. Wrap the rolls tightly in the waxed paper and then in plastic wrap. Chill the logs 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator or 1 to 2 hours in the freezer, until firm.
Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds and preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper sheets or non-stick liners.
Unwrap one cookie log and place it on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut straight down and roll the cylinder a quarter turn after every 6 slices so it will keeps its round shape. If the dough becomes soft while you’re working with it, rewrap it, and chill for another 10 to 15 minutes, then continue slicing. Place the slices on the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between them.
Bake the cookies for 7 minutes, then switch the baking sheets. Bake another 6 to 7 minutes, until the cookies are set and light golden. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks. Repeat as desired with any remaining cookie logs.
Store the cookies in an airtight plastic container between layers of waxed paper at room temperature up to 4 days.