Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Almond Butter Sticks

Yes, more butter. I decided to do a themed posting tonight.

Growing up, these cookies are something I would have passed over on the cookie platter, and I would have totally missed out. I first had them several years ago at my mom's house and have thought of them ever since. Her recent birthday was the perfect excuse to make them (for her, not for me, though of course I had to eat a few just to make sure they weren't poison).

The taste is delicious, but the texture is what really makes them stand out in a crowd. The cookie itself is quite soft, but the layer of almond sugar in the middle hardens into a wonderful crunch. Biting into one goes something like this: Soft yummy cookie-- yummy CRUNCH!-- soft yummy cookie. And if you can't understand that technical baker's jargon, then you don't belong here.

They are so good. I can't praise them highly enough, and the only disclaimer I'll give is that you shouldn't try them if you don't like almonds or almond flavoring. There, now the rest of you can have at 'em.

Also, the ingredient amounts are kooky because this recipe is one of many cookie recipes that you can make using make-ahead cookie mix. The original amounts for the mix itself are normal, but it makes 8 cups of mix. Since this recipe only calls for two cups of the mix, I had to cut it in fourths. (I really should just post all the other cookies one can also make with this mix, 'cause they're all good, but I'm pressed for time.)

Make-Ahead Cookie Mix
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups flour
In very large bowl, combine butter, salt, and baking powder and blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off. Add flour to butter mixture; blend until fine crumbs form, scraping bowl often. Store tightly covered in refrigerator for up to four weeks, if desired.

Almond Butter Sticks
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup butter (plus one separate tablespoon butter), softened
one 6-oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 cups mix (voila! That's the exact amount you have, thanks to my cutting it in fourths!)
1 egg, separated (reserve white for glazing)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and almond flavoring; cover and set aside. In medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk. Blend until smooth. Stir in the cookie mix, and knead on floured surface about 25 strokes or until pliable. (The dough is quite sticky, and I used a dusting of confectioners' sugar instead of flour.) Roll or press out to a 12 by 12-inch square. Spread with the 1 tablespoon of butter. Cut dough in half; place one half on greased cookie sheet. Spoon sugar mixture to within 1/2 inch of dough edges. Place remaining dough half, buttered side down, over sugar.* Press edges tightly together to seal, and brush top of dough with slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with almonds and bake 22-30 minutes until golden brown.
*My dough was very sticky, and I used a metal spatula to help get the dough off the table in one smooth piece.

Cool at least 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet, if desired. Cut pastry in half lengthwise, and then in 1/2-inch strips crosswise. 48 cookies**

**I cut mine in more generous 1-inch strips because I'm such a generous person, which makes 20-25 cookies.

1 comment:

alltheposts said...

You're a mathmatical genius.