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And So Begins the Cookie Season

November 29, 2010

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over (tear, tear) it’s time for Christmas cookies. I’ve been planning for this time since August, compiling recipes and “To Bake” lists on my computer, on my phone, in my planner, in my head … okay, maybe sometimes I get carried away.

I saw this recipe for chewy amaretti cookies at Smitten Kitchen and immediately thought “ooh, like macarons” and marzipan and had to make them immediately. But Deb said that her version, with a full cup of sugar, created very sweet cookies. Since I like my sweets with a cut of tangy fruit or some salt, I decided to cut the sugar to 1/3 of a cup. Silly me, I didn’t realize that in a recipe with four ingredients (four!), cutting one of the main ingredients by more than half would result in major structural changes. Her cookies formed perfect little circles. Mine formed blobs all over my baking sheet (which I stupidly forgot to grease, in an effort to undermine myself further. Don’t be like me — these cookies were extremely difficult to remove from the baking sheet).

But. Despite my multiple attempts to destroy these cookies, they were delicious. They were very chewy, very almond-y and not very sweet. If you’re okay with deformed-looking, less sweet cookies, follow the recipe below. But if you’d like yours sweeter and cuter, go with the full cup of sugar. Either way, they’re sure to be a hit.

Yield: 16 cookies, 2 inches in diameter

– 7 ounces pure almond paste (I used a tube of Odense)

– 1/3 cup sugar

– pinch of salt

– 2 large egg yolks, aged at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

1) With a fork, Break down the almond paste and mix with the sugar and salt.

2) Add the egg yolks and using an electric mixer, mix the dough until smooth.

3) Using a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with the corner nipped off, create 1-inch rounds about 1 inch apart on your greased baking sheet. If you’re using the extra sugar, this should theoretically work well. My cookies spread all over my sheet in a big mess, which I was only able to semi-salvage by reshaping them with a spoon. (The above photo is before I tried to fix them … )

4) Bake at 300˚F for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway. Wait until they are completely cool to remove them from the baking pan.

I am officially ready for more cookies, so if you’ve got a go-to recipe for the holidays, please send it my way!

Note: While I can’t recommend this 100% since I haven’t tried it, it might be okay to go with 3/4 of a cup of sugar without altering the structure of the cookie too much. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

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