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“What’s your way? Almond Butter Cookies Your Way gives you a choice of a firm thicker dense cookie, or a crispy thin wafer of a cookie. It’s your choice, so have it your way!”
Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugars and butter in a large bowl; add the egg and mix well. Add the extract(s) and mix well.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda; mix in using a medium low speed, until just mixed in; add the nuts and mix until incorporated into the dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375°F.Drop the cookie dough by rounded teaspoons on to the prepared cookie sheet, keeping the cookies about 2 inches apart.
Keep cookies in an air-tight container. Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen.
The making of Almond Butter Cookies, your way, started with a large jar of almond butter.
You know, like peanut butter, but made out of almonds?
I thought I would try it in place of my regular peanut butter on whole grain toast quick breakfast as it’s lower in fat and calories then peanut butter, and almonds are known to be heart healthy. Problem was, I didn’t really like it. That flavor just was not the same. The mouth feel was not the same. It was not going to make it as my new peanut butter toast substitute.
But now what was I going to do with this large container of almond butter?
Make cookies – that’s what
Thinking of all the children currently suffering with peanut allergies, I thought almond butter would make a great alternate cookie for them, as well as a tasty treat for anyone.
Almond butter is an alternative to peanut butter for those with peanut allergies or who dislike peanuts’ taste. Almond butter contains significantly more fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese than peanut butter, and about half the saturated fat, although a slightly higher total fat content. Because almonds are not legumes they are safe to eat for those allergic to peanuts.
So I started my investigation into almond butter cookies – and there wasn’t a lot out there. Almond cookies, yes, like the kind you get in a Chinese restaurant. But those mostly used almond extract. I couldn’t find a recipe that used actual almond butter, so I thought of peanut butter cookies, with modifications.
And that’s where I started.
I found a few recipes for peanut butter cookies, and using my love for combining flavors to make richer flavor, I decided to combine 2 kinds of sugar, granulated for sweet, brown for richer sweet.
Granulated sugar is colorless, odorless, and neutral in flavor. Its best friend is salt, though most dessert recipes don’t add salt to sweet, it’s the exact reason I always do. The salt highlight the sweet.
Brown sugars sweetness is tempered by the addition of bitter molasses which contributes fructose, glucose, amino acids, and minerals. Those chemical agents can smoke and burn during caramelization – this is one of the reasons you need to put your oven racks in the top third of the oven – but also undergo a reaction as they cook, developing increasingly rich and complex flavors. Brown sugar is acidic, its best friend is alkaline baking soda; when combined, they produce carbon dioxide.
So it made sense to me to use not only salt, but baking soda and baking powder as my leavening agents.
Once I mixed all of my ingredients together, I put them on my silpat, used a fork to make the standard criss cross that is common on peanut butter cookies, and put them in the oven until they were nicely browned and cooked.
I was surprised when I opened the oven and found them spread out, perfectly flat, thin, and crisp. However, the test batch that I didn’t put the criss cross pattern on, did not flatten.
So that got me thinking “these are really nice cookies, crispy and tasty, but what if????”
While I liked the thin crispy cookie, I thought of thicker, tender, cookies. Since I had already discovered that by not pressing them down with a fork, they turned out thicker, but they also lacked a certain amount of flavor that I guess the thin crispness made up for. So working on that premise, I added additional almond butter to the mix, and to counteract that I added a bit more flour for firmness. I also decided to use more texturally dense almond pieces, slivered instead of sliced.
It wasn’t quite as easy as just making a few changes to the dough, the cookies, being thicker, needed more cook time. That increased the time from about 7 minutes per batch, to about 12 minutes per batch. This increase in baking time also increased the tendency for the cookie bottom to brown too quickly, or burn by the time the cookie was done.
So I raised the racks and found that worked just fine. You could also decrease the temperature from 375º to 350º and cook longer. But still, keep those racks up in the upper third of the oven.
Tasting these, both Brian and I thought – winner winner!
Then I had BB take both cookies to the taste kitchen at Chateau Montelena, where good palates and culinary skills are well known, and used.
I was so sure the thick and tender cookie would win…but no, they didn’t. They came in a close second to the thin and crisp cookie. Tasters noted:
Of the thick and tender cookies:
Of the thin and crisp cookie:
I did a secondary tasting with my son’s friends. A young crowd with young people’s taste and the results were, surprisingly, the same.
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