I'm trapped in my house due to snow.
No...we don't have white drifts blanketing the landscape like many friends up North. Snow in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a novelty. We see it on the mountain tops. We drive up to it to ski. We even get enough in the valleys to sled once or twice each year. But drive in it? Live functional lives in it?
NO. We don't do that.
Our schools have already closed FOUR TIMES this December, due to 1-2 inches of snow. Ridiculous, you might say, but Asheville is just not equipped to clear enough roads to free us from our homes! Too many people live on the slopes, meaning one patch of black ice could be detrimental.
So here I sit...
Christmas shopping undone.
Holiday errands un-run.
Holiday baking? THAT I can still do! I even have a couple school-skipping elves to help me!
Cookies are magical. They provide a common bond for any group of people. They offer instant (if only momentary) bliss. They are adored by the young and old alike. Cookies are bite-sized portions of LOVE.
When you give a friend a plate of cookies, you've given them a couple dozen tiny love notes. I'd take cookies over candles, picture frames, and trinkets any day.
I found this particular recipe in this month's Bon Appetite Magazine. After drooling over the photo I noticed they were made with almond paste and no flour. Very curious...
They reminded me of the classic Amaretti cookies you find in the square metal tins this time of year. Only thinner, softer, and filled with jam. I experimented with fillings and found my family liked blackberry jam and spiced vanilla frosting the best! Truth be told, they are a little time consuming--but well worth the effort, if you like a nutty flourless sort of cookie!
Almond Sandwich Cookies
(adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine 12/10)
1 ½ cups sliced almonds
1- 7 oz. tube of almond paste
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup egg whites (MEASURE!)
Jam or frosting for filling
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line to large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Break the almond paste into chunks and place it in a food processor. Add the sugar and cinnamon and grind until fine.
Scoop the mixture into a large zip bag and snip a hole in one corner.
*Here’s where the recipe varies…If the almond mixture in thick, pour the sliced almonds on to a plate. Then squeeze circle onto the almonds. Flip them over so they are covered with almonds on both sides, then lay them on the cookie sheets.
If the almond mixture is loose, place little mounds of sliced almonds on the cookies sheets where the cookies will be. Squeeze the mixture into circles on top of the little almond piles. Then sprinkle with a few more almonds.
Bake for 9-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them at the end because they turn dark quickly.
Allow the cookies to cool completely on the parchment paper. Then turn half of them over and top with jam or frosting. Give each cookie a top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies.