Almond Cookies for afternoon tea.
Rumor has it baking weather is just around the corner. Though you'd never know it by looking out the window here in Southern California. Texting skateboarders whip by in short shorts, bikini clad surfer girls are paddling out on their long boards, and jewel-studded flip-flops remain the shoe du jour. It feels more like July than September. It's hot.
And it feels good.
It was a coolish summer for those of us on the South Bay coast. June Gloom stuck around long past its expiration date. Until this week, in fact, I was walking my morning ritual loop in my thickest hooded sweatshirt, fingers tucked up inside the sleeves for warmth (what visitors to Los Angeles assume is smog is actually fog that hugs the coast, blanketing our beaches- and west side- with a fuzzy soft marine layer). It's lovely for baking. But chilly for fingers and toes.
So I bake. In UGGs.
And my latest experiment is cookies.
I used sprouted almonds in this almond cookie recipe. I found them at Whole Foods. Sprouting nuts, beans, and seeds makes them more digestible. More nutritious. And I think, more flavorful. If you'd like to try sprouting your own batch of almonds, here's a post how to do it yourself- sprouting almonds is as easy as one, two, three. You just need a little time for soaking. And you should dry roast them on a cookie sheet, to crisp them up.
No big whup.
A note about my cookie experiments. I made these gluten-free almond cookies with variations. And each batch was slightly different. First I experimented with almond butters. I used a grainy, raw almond butter in the first batch, and a smooth roasted almond butter the following day. The verdict? We preferred the raw almond butter, hands down. The graininess gave the cookies a pleasant texture. The sweeter taste of the raw almond butter allowed me the option of using no sugar- which brings me to my second experiment.
I sweetened the raw almond butter cookie dough with pure maple syrup. Result? Gently sweet enough (especially if you've been off cane sugar for awhile, like me). So I'll include instructions below for making these cookies cane sugar-free.
The roasted almond butter had a less sweet, deeper roasted almond flavor that was complemented by light brown sugar. So that batch took advantage of all the goodness that brown sugar brings to gluten-free baking- it caramelizes, browns to golden goodness, and adds crunchy-cookie texture. This batch was crisper. And yes, sweeter.
I also made a batch with dark chocolate chips. Do I have to say it?
They were Steve's favorite.
So mix it up- add dark chocolate chips to half a batch. Or not. Just go with sprouted almonds, if you prefer. Experiment with brown sugar or maple syrup. Raw or roasted almond butter.
But most of all, Babycakes, be happy.
Fall is for baking.
Even if you have to do it in a bikini.
Almondy Almond Butter Cookies RecipeBy Karina Allrich September 2011.
I'll give you the basic recipe here, the one with brown sugar and roasted almond butter. See notes at the end of the recipe for alternative ingredients, including sugar-free.
1 cup sorghum flour (GF oat flour, or brown rice flour, if you must)
1/2 cup GF buckwheat flour or almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca starch (or potato starch)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup almond butter
2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
1 cup organic light brown sugar
4 tablespoons organic coconut oil
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped sprouted almonds (and more for decorating tops)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips- optional
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt. Make a well in the center and add in the almond butter, beaten eggs, brown sugar, coconut oil, and almond, vanilla extracts. Beat to combine.
The cookie dough will start to stick together and become almost taffy-like. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, add in the chopped almonds (and dark chocolate chips, if using) and stir to combine.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a golf ball sized wad of dough and roll it between damp hands. Place it on a baking sheet. Press down lightly. Add a few halved almonds to the top and press in gently. Repeat for the remaining dough, making 24 cookies. My cookie sheet fit twelve cookies, so I baked these in two batches.
Bake in the upper third of a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until set and slightly crisp (they also crisp as they cool).
Cool on a wire rack. Store a few in a jar, if you like, for immediate gratification; but I recommend wrapping cookies in twos, bagging and freezing them for preserving best texture and taste (you know how weird gluten-free goodies get).
Makes 24 cookies.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
Notes on Options:
Raw almond butter is fabulous in this recipe. Its sweeter, grainy texture really adds a layer of pleasure to every bite. You might also achieve this by using almond meal instead of the buckwheat flour.
Sprouted almonds can be found at Whole Foods- they are dry and crisp. Or you can make your own and dry them on a baking sheet.
I loved this recipe with pure maple syrup (as I gave up cane sugar, if you remember). The maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness to these nutty cookies that I really appreciate- especially in the fall. If you are used to the sweet punch of sugar, maple might be too subtle for you. So go with the brown sugar. But if you are going sans sugar these days, try it with 3/4 cup maple syrup.
Vegans and egg-free bakers: I have made almond cookies using Ener-G egg replacer (remember these nutty crunchy cookies with almond flour?) and they turned out beautifully- so I expect these would translate well to egg-free, too.
Tip: If the cookies puff up and you prefer a thinner, crisper cookie, try this. Smack them with a spatula after you remove the baking sheet from the oven. Then move them to a wire rack to cool.
More GF almond cookie goodness from food bloggers:
Tasty Eats at Home: Flourless Almond Butter Cookies
Elana's Pantry: Double Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gluten-Free Easily: Flourless Almond Peanut Butter Cookie S'Mores