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Spanish Almond Cookies

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Spanish Almond Cookies

Spanish Almond Cookies

Time: approximately 90 minutes from start to finish

  • 20 minutes to prepare and mix the ingredients
  • 30 minutes to chill the dough
  • 20 minutes to prepare the cookies on the sheet
  • Approximately 10-14 minutes to bake

Serves: makes about 45 cookies

Inspired by: I was hosting a Spanish wine tasting one evening and scrambled to come up with some interesting tapas and desserts. I found several recipes on the web for cookies called “Perrunillas” – typical of Extremadura in Western Spain. I have since fine tuned the recipes and experimented a bit. If you use white flour, they are similar in taste and texture to almond biscotti. Whole-wheat flour makes them a bit denser, but also softer. Almond flour is heavier and causes them to flatten out so you will likely bake them a couple of minutes less, and they may turn out slightly chewy.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (If you substitute wheat-flour the recipe doesn’t change. If you substitute all or part almond flour, use an extra 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of almond flour substituted – for example, if you use three cups of almond flour then you will use 1 teaspoon of baking soda instead of 1/4 teaspoon in the original recipe.)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (you can substitute raw sugar, but this will make the cookies heavier, they will flatten out more, and you will bake them a couple of minutes less – see picture at the end of this post)
  • 1 cup lightly flavored olive oil (extra virgin olive oil is also fine)
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed/ground aniseed (I’ve only found seeds so I hand grind with a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 cup sliced or slivered raw almonds
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with a few drops of water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup granulated white sugar to sprinkle over top

Preparation:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beat in the oil, and then add lemon peel and aniseed.
  • Begin stirring in the dry ingredients until a soft dough has formed. Fold in the slivered almonds.
  • Chill the dough for 30 minutes (I’ve found that when using the whole wheat flour, the dough is easier to work with unchilled or very slightly chilled).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll dough into 1 ¼ inch balls and flatten them slightly to a thickness of ¾ inch. Place on an ungreased, nonstick baking sheet about 1 inch apart. (Do not flatten if you’ve used raw sugar or almond flour as substitutes – they will flatten more rapidly while baking on their own.)
  • Brush tops of cookies with beaten egg yolk, sprinkle generously with sugar.
  • Bake until cookies are just lightly golden – approximately 12 minutes, but I usually start checking them at 10. It is very easy for the bottoms to burn quickly once they are done so check frequently and immediately remove them from the hot cookie sheets with a spatula to cool on a wire rack.

Notes: I’m classifying these as “moderately healthy” only because they are relative to most desserts/cookies! Except for the sugar, the ingredients aren’t that bad – especially if you substitute almond flour. If you use whole-wheat flour, the dough will be more crumbly so you’ll have to squeeze the cookie dough together harder when you are making the round shapes – but they will stay together. They also stick a bit more to the cookie sheet. Per my notes above, if you substitute almond flour, don’t forget to use an extra 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of almond flour to help make up for the heaviness of the almond flour. Also, I’ve found that when I use almond flour, I use just a bit less than a full cup of olive oil so the batter doesn’t get too runny. Lastly, if you substitute raw sugar for the white sugar in the cookie dough – this will also weigh them down a bit so they will become flatter (spread out a bit more) and may cook a bit faster.

Wine Recommendations: These cookies are nice with wine because they aren’t super sweet. It should be easy to find a white dessert wine that is nice, but not over the top sweet, and has some oxidized and almond nuances that would match fabulously with the cookies! An aged Sauternes would be perfect, but try a Vin Santo, late harvest Riesling, Muscat or Amontillado Sherry. If you must go red… perhaps a Tawny Port?

Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

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