Almonds and chocolate and sprinkles, oh my! I had myself a fun and relaxing cookie baking and decorating party recently (if you consider running back and forth from the oven to the kitchen table with 4 baking sheets of cookies relaxing!), testing out a recipe for Almond Kisses from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder from the Hannah Swensen foodie murder mystery series (if you don’t know about these books and how much I love this series, you need to jump on the bandwagon, PRONTO!).
I love baking out of these books so much and it had been awhile since the last time I tried out something new from one of them so I jumped on the opportunity one Saturday morning to make these amazing almond cookies. The original recipe uses Hershey’s Kisses for the cookie middles but unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my favourite cookies ‘n cream ones or the yummy milk and white chocolate swirly ones so I settled on testing out the base almond cookie recipe first and jazzing up a batch with chocolate chips mixed in and another batch dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sprinkles!
I had the best time making these cookies and they turned out perfect! And oh my goodness they taste fantastically delicious. Trust me when I say that they test the most delicious straight out of the oven. I know you have to let them cool to dip them in chocolate if you want to follow my lead, but I really just mean within the first day or so. They taste totally fine even a week after (providing you store them in a sealed container of course), but to really get the full food orgasmic effect, you need to taste them soon after they’re baked because they are just divine. Like marzipan on cloud nine. This is the type of recipe that can spawn 10 others simply because it’s so simple and versatile. You can mix in chocolate chips (regular, white, butterscotch, whatever you like!), small sprinkles and shredded coconut, dip them in melted chocolate, or glaze them. Or just leave them plain.
I was beaming with pride looking at all my cookies when I had the most bizarre and ridiculous exchange with my dad though. Me: *wearing oven mitts, beaming* “Look how cute these cookies turned out! They’re sooo good!” Dad: “You didn’t make enough cookies.” Me: “What do you mean I didn’t make enough cookies?! I made 54! Well, 52. Dan and I just ate one each.” Dad: “Yeah, but you’re giving away two dozen.” Me: “Which leaves us with 28 still!” Dad: “Exactly. That’s not enough.”
I was so offended. Hmph. IT’S NOT MY FAULT THEY’RE SO YUMMY THEY DISAPPEAR LIKE CRAZY!
This is a must-try recipe, everyone, enjoy!
Recipe for Almond Kisses (yields approx. 4 dozen small cookies)
Ingredients (*Deb’s Note: the recipe below was actually cut in half. The original recipe uses double the amounts)
- 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (*Deb’s Note: if you prefer to follow the original recipe’s ingredient list, substitute the brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses and increase the granulated sugar to 1 cup. If you wish to follow the original recipe in its entirety, double the ingredients.)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups flour
- your choice of add-in should you wish to use it!
- Heat oven to 350°F (*Deb’s Note: because my oven runs hot, I lowered mine to 325°F).
- Melt butter in microwave in mixing bowl. Add sugars, vanilla extract and almond extract (Deb’s Note: if you are not using brown sugar and instead using molasses (see note in ingredient list), add the molasses after the adding the almond extract); mix with electric mixer until blended. Add baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix well. Add ground almonds; mix well.
- Pour in beaten egg; mix until blended. Add flour, 1 cup at a time; mix until just blended after each addition. (Do not over mix). (*Deb’s Note: If you are using add-ins like chocolate chips, add them after adding and mixing in the flour. Mix them in gently with your hands so you’re not overworking the dough.)
- Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Roll dough into small, walnut-sized balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 15 dough balls to a sheet. Flatten dough balls slightly using the palm of your hand. Use the tines on a fork to make an indentation if you wish to jazz up the tops.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes (Deb’s Note: I baked mine for 8 minutes). Cool on baking sheets for several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
Proceed to stuff your face with delicious fresh baked cookies. Go the extra step and decorate using melted chocolate and sprinkles – like me! Rinse and repeat.
Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder. New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2003. Photographs taken by me. The recipe can be found on page 55.