"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!"
The making of - Almond Butter Cookies - Your Way
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 mouthfeel 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 from peanut allergies, I thought almond butter would make a great alternate cookie for them, as well as a tasty treat for anyone.
What is Almond Butter?
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.
Thin and Crisp
I found a few recipes for peanut butter cookies and using my love for combining flavors to make a 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 highlights 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 silplat, 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????"
Thick and Tender
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!
The Tasting Panel(s)
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:
- Not too sweet, and yet, so crunchy. YAY!
- Less sweet, more substance.
- A little dry and less buttery, I would have loved a glass of milk or coffee to dunk. Perfect dunkers.
Of the thin and crisp cookie:
- Love love love the crunch.
- Feels like I got more cookie.
- I wanted to put some ice cream in the middle and make an ice cream sandwich from them.
- Great texture and crunch.
- Would be perfect with a glass of milk.
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.
So what's your way?
Thin and Crisp?
Thick and Tender
Either way, make it your way today.
Almond Butter Cookies
- For the Thin and Crisp Cookie
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 stick ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ½ cup smooth almond butter at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
- Variation for Thick and Tender Cookie
- Increase almond butter to 1 cup
- Increase flour to 1 ½ cups
- Change slice almonds to ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted almond slivered almonds
- For both recipes for Almond Butter CookiesPosition the cooking racks to the upper third of the oven. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment, Silpat, or lightly grease with butter.
- 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.
- If making the thin and crispy recipe: Roll the dough in your hands to form a ball, then roll in granulated sugar that has been put into a large flat bowl. Use a fork to gently press the dough until it is slightly flattened. Place in the oven and cook, about 7 - 10 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack.
- If making the thick tender cookie: Place the dough onto the sheet, but do not press them. Place in the oven and cook from 10 - 12 minutes, or until browned and firm. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack.