aunt lou’s almond cookies

my great aunt lou was quite a character! she enjoyed her evening cocktails, loved the racetrack and was a straight talker. we didn’t get to see her too often, as she lived on the west coast, but when she came east, it was always an adventure.

late in her life, when my dad and i visited california to help her pack her stuff to make her final move back east closer to family, she gave me a plastic bag filled with handwritten recipes. she had been one of a large family of sisters and brothers growing up in vineland, new jersey, and though she wasn’t the baker in the family, she had quite a few recipes she’d inherited from her siblings. this almond cookie recipe was one of the many crumbled sheets of paper in the bag. i don’t remember her ever making these for us, nor do i remember her sister, my grandma bessie ever making these, but the handwritten note said ‘lou’s almond cookies’, so who am i to dispute it?!

that being said, these cookies are similar to many found in italian bakeries in new york. they are dense enough to be dunk-able in a good cup of coffee, but they also are tender enough to enjoy as is. they are studded with thinly sliced almonds, and they are really, really good.

aunt lou’s almond cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup baker’s sugar
1 large egg
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sliced almonds (blanched, not toasted)

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. combine flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
3. separate your egg into yolk and white.
4. using your stand mixer, beat the butter and baker’s sugar until fluffy and light.
5. add the egg yolk, mixing until incorporated and smooth.
6. add the lemon zest and the vanilla.
7. add the flour mixture in one lump, and with mixer on low, mix until mixture forms a nice solid dough.
8. wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough firms up a bit – about 30 minutes.
9. scoop a generous tablespoon (i use the #40 scoop) into your hand and roll between your palms until you make a small log, approximately two inches long by 1 inch wide.
10. beat the egg white in a small bowl. dip the dough log into the egg white until it is completely covered.
11. dip the egg-soaked dough log into a bowl filled with slivered almonds. roll the log around so the entire piece of dough is covered with almonds.
12. place onto baking sheets, about two inches apart.
13. bake at 325 degrees for about 15 – 17 minutes. depending upon the heat distribution of your oven, you may want to rotate the baking sheet midway through the baking cycle so the cookies will evenly bake. when the cookies begin to get golden, and the almonds begin to toast, it’s time to take them out!
14. let the cookies rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.
yield: approximately 42 cookies

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