Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Baking Series - Almond Spice Cookies

Almond Spice Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ounces slivered almonds (1 cup) - I used toasted ones from TJ's

Beat together flour, baking powder, slat and spices in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar about 3 minutes in a standing mixer with paddle attachment on medium high speed. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the almonds.

Form dough into a 12-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll up dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours. (To roll cookies into balls, see note at end of recipe)

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. (I baked my cookies on one sheet at a time in the oven, baking sheet on middle rack of oven.)

Cut enough 1/8- 1/4-inch slices form log with a heavy knife to fill the sheet/s. Arrange slices about 1 inch apart (chill remainder of log, wrapped in plastic wrap). if you'd like you can garnish with course sugar.

Bake cookies, switching positions if doing 2 sheets at a time halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

Note: Dough log can be chilled up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap, 1 month. If frozen, thaw dough in refrigerator just until it can be sliced.

Instead of forming dough into a log and chilling, you can roll tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch and can roll in course sugar. Bake following directions above. You can make plain butter cookies with this recipe by omitting spices and almonds. Cookies can be garnished with melted chocolate as well.

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies

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