The Best Almond Cookies ever!

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These cookies are very popular in Italian and Greek bakeries.  Made with pure almond paste, they pack so much flavor and texture (think chewy and crunchy at the same time) in a little package.  Here is the recipe!  I formed them with a small ice cream scoop but you could use a pastry bag with a star tip–if you want to get fancy on me! Note that the regular versions of this cookie, and there are dozens, do not contain the cayenne.  But given that I love sweet and salty or sweet and hot, I thought it the perfect addition.

16 ounces almond paste (2- 8 ounce cans)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Healthy pinch of cayenne pepper (optional but that little bit of heat in all that sweet is nice)

Sliced almonds

Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Pulse the almond paste and sugar in the food processor until combined.  Pour mixture into the mixer bowl of a stand mixer and add the three egg whites, mixing until combined.  Add the vanilla and cayenne if using.  Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out the mixture into balls and place on the parchment lined sheet.  You may if you like garnish them with sliced almonds as I did above. Sprinkle with powdered sugar through a sieve and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, watching them closely at the end of the baking time.  When they begin to brown around the edges they are done.  Keep in mind that, while they are cooling on the pan, they will continue to stiffen up and bake because of the hot pan.  You may keep them on the pan to cool completely and then remove them when they have come to room temperature.  Makes about 20-23 cookies.

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

Ready to go into oven

Ready to go into oven

The finished cookies

The finished cookies

 

This is the easiest recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies, and I might add, the most delicious. No flour at all so they are great for all of you who are allergic to wheat.  Adapted from Food and Wine this month, I added a few things to really make them sing! As usual, cayenne pepper makes an appearance! Enjoy!

I cup of smooth peanut butter

1 cup of sugar

1 extra large egg

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder)

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons minced peanuts (minced in a mini chopper)

1/4 cup chopped bitter chocolate (finely please)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non stick spray. 

In a bowl, place all of the ingredients except the peanuts and chocolate. Mix well until the egg is blended in well.  Add the chocolate and the peanuts. 

Spoon with a small ice cream scoop onto the prepared tray and then take a fork, and make the cross pattern as you see above, flattening slightly. Bake for about 15 minutes rotating the pans once through the baking process.  Transfer to a rack to cool and then serve (preferably with a tall glass of milk!)

These cookies are just delicious and are going to be making an appearance for Chistmas this year! Enjoy! Makes about 20 cookies using the ice cream scoop, but if you use a tablespoon to form small balls, it may make up to 30 cookies.