Almond Crinkles

almond crinkles

 

 

 

 

 

Almond paste and marzipan are both confections made of ground almonds and sugar, with some recipes including egg whites as a stabilizer. Throughout the world, almond paste and marzipan are interchangeable, but here in the US, they’re different products for different purposes.

According to American Almond Products Co., almond paste contains equal parts ground almonds and sugar. It is commonly used in fillings for tarts, pastries, and cakes and can be used to make marzipan, which has a higher sugar to ground almond ratio. The higher quantity of sugar in marzipan makes it more pliable and suitable for molding, which explains why cake decorators use it to fashion tiny fruits, vegetables, animals, and all manner of objects.

I had six ounces of almond paste left over from my Christmas baking and had to scour the internet to find a recipe that called for this amount, fortunately finding the simple cookie below. The end result is a buttery, almondy, sugar-type cookie that would welcome a drizzle of melted chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 6 ounces almond paste
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with foil or parchment.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening, almond paste, and sugar until very fluffy.

Add egg and beat until combined.

Add baking soda and flour, beating until combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls. Place two inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, until tops are just golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

 

Almond Clouds (gluten-free)

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend Mike and I are off to the Clarksville Picnic in my mom’s hometown of Clarksville, Maryland.  The picnic is one of the highlights of my year; it features the white elephant rummage sale, bingo, pony rides, games for kids, a bake sale, a quilt raffle (which my mom won three years ago, and that quilt is now on my bed) and a family-style fried chicken and baked ham dinner.

I love the picnic because it gives me a chance to hang out with my Maryland family, the descendants of the Feaga-O’Donnell clan.  The lynchpin is Aunt Liz, my mom’s twin sister. Yes, my mom has a twin.  And no, you cannot get a word in edgewise when they’re together.

Anyway…Aunt Liz is the youngest of the six O’Donnell kids, and her home, Glyndon, is the center of my Maryland universe.  Tucked into a corner of Montgomery County that hasn’t been developed to death, Glyndon is a classic white colonial with black shutters, a wood stove, and a dog pen that’s been home to many faithful mutts over the years.

Aunt Liz puts on meals like nobody’s business.  Her Thanksgiving dinners are legendary, her breakfasts the stuff of myths.  She’s an excellent cook and baker, but she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago.  After mentioning some almond cookies she liked that she’d gotten at an allergy-free store, I decided to go on the hunt for a gluten-free almond cookie that I could make on my own, and I found this one.

Aunt Liz proclaimed it the best cookie she’d ever eaten in her life.  The highest of praise, indeed.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325.

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Break up almond paste into pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine almond paste, sugar, and salt until uniformly crumbly.

Gradually add egg whites until dough is smooth and paste-like.

Add almond extract and beat well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheets, leaving ample room in between; I bake six cookies per sheet.

Using a small sieve, generously dust each cookie with powdered sugar.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until edges are light golden brown.

Cool for several minutes on baking sheets, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Dust with more powdered sugar if desired.