One hundred and thirty three. Remember that number. Way back in January we took an impromptu trip to New York for my cousin’s birthday. My cousin’s wife Kathy, baker, crafter, home chef extraordinaire made all of the scrumptious desserts – birthday cake, lemon parfaits and an amazing assortment of cookies for the shindig. We ate, we danced, we laughed. Not surprisingly I was enamored with all of the desserts Kathy made but one in particular stood out. A cinnamon-y, crispy-crunchy cookie with almonds scattered throughout.
When we returned home from our NY jaunt I fired off an e-mail to Kathy.
Me: Hey Kathy, Great party! As usual delicious food, great company, fab party! Loved those crunchy almond cookies! Mind sending me the recipe?
Kathy: Still recovering from the party. Yep, those are good cookies. The recipe is from Nick Malgieri’s Cookies Unlimited, they’re called Dutch Almond Cookies.
Me: Wait, I think I have that book (surprise, surprise)
The first time I made them was a total disaster. The recipe is actually pretty simple. Butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and a touch of water are heated until the sugar is melted. Once the sugar has dissolved toss in the whole blanched almonds. The almond mixture is then combined with the dry ingredients. All was fine until I stirred in the flour and bam! It seized and instantly transformed into crumbly dry mess. Ugh. Disappointing. I tried to salvage it by pressing it into a baking pan and chilling it. Unfortunately even after chilling it was not workable and it ended up in my compost bin. Where did I go wrong?
I turned to my trusty laptop, googled Nick Malgieri and fired off an e-mail lamenting my disaster. True to form and further validating how nice bakers are, I received a response from him shortly. After some mulling he concluded that I had probably used too much flour. He then provided the weight measurements for the recipe.
Yep, one hundred and thirty three, 133 grams per cup of flour. When you try these bundles of crispy crunchy goodness use a scale if you have one. It may save you from the “un-malleable mess” I had the first time. If you don’t have a scale, be gentle with your flour, don’t pack it in the cup when you measure.
This time the dough did not turn into a chalky brick, instead it was a very thick and pourable. I put it in an 8×8 pan lined with foil (very important) covered it with plastic wrap and chilled the dough overnight. Once chilled it hardens and becomes easy to cut. The dough is divided into 3 logs. Cut 1 log at a time leaving the remaining logs in the fridge. If it crumbles while cutting, just smoosh (technical term used by all serious chefs) it back together. The recipe calls for 1/4″ inch slices. These are really crunchy cookies I would slice them a smudge thinner than 1/4 inch rather than more. Place the cookies on a parchment lined sheet about 1 inch apart and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Make sure to bake the cookies until they are a rich golden brown and firm to touch. Once cooled the slices will be crispy-crunchy similar to biscotti. If under-baked the cookies will be chewy instead of crisp.
This recipe makes a ton of cookies, perfect for that upcoming holiday cookie swap.
And a holiday tune to go along with these scrumptious cookies. From Peanuts Christmas- Linus and Lucy
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 cups whole blanched almonds,
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Link to the recipe Dutch Almond Cookies .
- 1. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil; butter foil. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
- 2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, granulated sugar and water. Return to heat and bring to boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts. Remove from heat and stir in almonds.
- 3. Pour sugar-almond mixture into a large bowl and stir in dry ingredients. Press dough into prepared square pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or until firm.
- 4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- 5. Prepare topping: thoroughly combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.
- 6. Unmold the "brick" of cookie dough from the pan and place on cutting board. Cut brick into three bars, each 8-by-2 1/2-by- 1 1/4 inches (bars will be just a little more than 2 1/2-inches wide). Wrap 2 bars in parchment paper, wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cut remaining brick into 1/4-inch thick slices. As you cut cookies, place them on prepared sheets 1 inch apart in all directions. Just before putting sheets in oven, sprinkle tops of cookies generously with the cinnamon sugar. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Slide the parchment with the cookies on top onto cooling racks. Cookies will crisp as they cool. Repeat with remaining bars of dough.
- 7. Store cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. If freezing the bar(s), it is best to thaw dough overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
- Happy baking!