Friday, November 13, 2015

Glazed Almond Lemon Cookies

It’s always nice to have a stash of homemade cookies tucked away in a tin to share when friends or family drop by.  And now that the holiday season is surely upon us, it’s good to stock up on ideas for little pastries to share at teatime and for gift giving to all those good people you love and appreciate.  Homemade cookies, loaf cakes and confections are among the season's cherished receivables.

Today’s cookie is of the simple, subtle and crumbly variety.  It’s made with ground almonds and brightened with lemon zest that's been processed with granulated sugar for maximum effect.  It’s all done in a food processor, which makes quick work of getting the mixing done.  The lemon glaze adds just the right touch of sweetness.

This plate of cookies is nothing fancy but a nice way to enjoy a moment of friendship at a time of the year that can feel way too busy and a notch stressful.  It’s for just those occasions when you crave a light but satisfying nibble rather than the richness of chocolate or something that screams spice.  For those understated moments of quiet relief, reach for your favorite hot beverage and one of these little treats.  Time to take a deep breath and relish the simple things in life.

Bench notes:
- I like to use sliced almonds because they result in a mixture that is more finely ground.
- To toast sliced almonds, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 – 7 minutes.  Watch them closely as they will burn quickly.
- A microplane is the best tool for zesting.  Zest the lemons directly over the sugar in the food processor to capture the oils. 
- The cookies don’t take on much color and firm up as they cool.
- Sift the powdered sugar for the glaze to eliminate lumps.
- I really love the combination of almonds and lemon.  If you do, too, be sure to put Lemon Almond Ice Cream on your list of things to do.

Glazed Almond Lemon Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen 2 1/2” cookies

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar                                                    
zest of 2 lemons
1 cup (3 oz) sliced almonds, toasted                             
2 cups (10 oz) flour                                                            
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                   
8 oz (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter                  
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract                                           

3/4 cup (3 oz) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (1 oz) lemon juice

Pulse sugar and lemon zest in food processor until the sugar is damp and fragrant.   Add the toasted sliced almonds and process until finely ground.  Add flour and salt and process until thoroughly combined.

Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and process until the mixture starts to clump in the middle of the machine and there are no dry streaks.

Place the dough into an airtight container and chill for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Portion the cookie dough into 1 1/4” balls and place 12 on a baking sheet.  Gently flatten them until they’re 1 3/4” in diameter. 

Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the glaze, place the lemon juice in a bowl.  Sift the powdered sugar into the lemon juice and whisk to combine.  Use a pastry brush to apple a thin coating of glaze on top of the cooled cookies or dip each one into the glaze.  Place on a wire rack to dry.


Ben David said...

No egg? No liquid to bind/activate the flour?

pastry studio said...

I didn't find an egg necessary but a yolk can be added if you prefer a richer cookie.