Thursday, December 26, 2013

Simple Almond Strips

Almonds are Nature's candy! Ever eaten a big handful of raw almonds? They taste sweet, just like almond paste or marzipan. A delight known only to gluttons who dare to eat a big enough handful. For years, my Dad used to make something he called "Banquet" (pronounced Bahn-ket), a pastry strip with almond-paste filling. A confirmed Europhile who is fluent in German, he would make it in the form of a P with X through its base, an old symbol for Christ. These little cookies aren't symbolic, but they are so simple to make compared to, say, sugar cookie cutouts. They also adapt well if you add some whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour the recipe calls for. This recipe comes from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, where it goes by Almond Strips.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat), milk to brush on the cookies, 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Method: Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat butter with an electric mixer. Add sugar and baking powder, beat till combined. Beat in egg and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in the remaining flour. (When I made this, the dough was so dry that I had to knead it a bit with my hands to get the last of the flour to go in.) Divide dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a 12-inch long roll. Place rolls 2 to 5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using your hands, slightly flatten each roll to 3 inches wide. Brush flattened rolls with milk and sprinkle with almonds, pressing slightly to get them to adhere. (Go ahead, crowd those almonds on there! They will spread out during baking.) Bake at 325 F for 12 to 14 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. (I had to bake them for closer to 20 minutes, but don't start with that.) While the cookies are still warm on the baking sheet, take a big knife and cut them diagonally into 1-inch strips. Cool on wire racks. If desired, drizzle with powdered sugar icing.


Marianne said...

Your blog is totally making me hungry.

Daisy said...

Oh my gosh, those look so good. I love almonds!