Almond cookies

I am leaving town for a fortnight, to my Mom's place leaving behind my children under the care of my husband! I would like to think I would be missed sorely but my son honestly told me he will be only a little sad without me - quite obvious since his dad never stops him from seeing too much TV, playing too long outside and on the computer and other things which mummies usually restrict! My daughter says she will really miss me!!

I wanted to prepare all their favourite items during this week to give them a memorable week before I leave on Saturday! My kids loved my last batch of homemade cookies so I decided to try out this recipe from "Heartland baking" by Lindley Boegehold which I bought from the last Strand Book Sale.

The original recipe is for sandwich cookies using raspberry jam. I have made plain cookies and decided to try out the jam next time as it was late night when I started to make them. Here's the recipe for the almond cookies

Makes 32
Ingredients for basic cookies:
Almonds (Blanched, peeled and roasted slightly) 1 cup
Refined flour (Maida) 1plus 1/2 cups
Butter (At room temperature) 3/4 cup (I used 1 cup)
Sugar (Powdered) 1/2 cup
Rind of one lemon (I did not include this)
Vanilla extract 1tsp. (I added only 3 to 4 drops)

Ingredients for assemblage:
White of an egg for glazing (I brushed with milk instead)
Salt 1/8tsp.(Forgot to add!)
Slivered almonds 1/3 cup (Did not decorate as I was sleepy)
Raspberry Jam 1 cup (Same as above)
Fresh lime juice 1tbsp(Same as above)

1. Grind the almonds with 3 tbsps of flour in a grinder until finely ground and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon rind and vanilla extract. Add the ground almonds and stir till incorporated.

3. Stir in the remaining flour adding a tsp of milk if required to hold the dough together. (Mine was quite crumbly). Knead well on a lightly floured surface into a stiff dough.

4. Roll into a ball, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 189 deg. Celsius and line your cookie tray with foil.

6. Divide the dough into four equal parts and roll each out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. This is the recipe instruction. My dough could not be rolled out even after adding a few drops of milk. So I pressed the dough first between my palms and then with a pancake turner slowly so that it flattened out to less than half centimeter.

7. Cut them into desired shapes. I have used a ginger bread man cutter, a heart, a circle and a ringed cutter. If you are going to sandwich them with jam then cut them using the round cutter and then cut half of the circles with a smaller round cutter so that you get holes in the centre for filling the jam.

8. Repeat the same with the entire dough and use up all the scraps to make more cookies (Needless to say!)

9. Place the cookies on the prepared tray about half an inch apart. If you would like to you may glaze the cookies with whisked egg white (Until frothy) and decorate the top with slivered almond.

10. Bake till slightly browned. (My second batch of cookies got burnt as it 11:30p.m and I snoozed off till I heard the timer of the oven ring but they taste really yummy - Nutty and thoroughly crunchy!)

11. Cool and transfer onto a rack.

If you are going in for the sandwich cookies then proceed with this step.

12. In a saucepan, melt the jam with the lemon juice until it comes to a simmer. Brush the jam over the cookie circles and sandwich together with the holed (Ringed) cookies. You may add a little more jam in the centre of the sandwich if desired.

13. Store in an airtight container with sheets of wax paper between each layer.

My variation:
I read about these cookies in Happyhomebaking's links and decided to try it out with a little dough in the end:

Wrap a hershey's sweet kisses chocolate inside a layer of cookie covering it all over and then bake it like an ordinary one. My son loved this one! I did not cover the entire chocolate - Instead I left a little brown top open as it looked like a volcano and I felt the children would like it better that way!!

My son's verdict:
- He loved the hershey kisses wrapped cookies better. He kept rolling his eyes dreamily - that said it all!
My neighbour's kid (3 yr. old):
- Asked for more!!
My daughter - Well! She was asleep!
My husband - I had to hide the cookies away so that they would be available for the children's break time next day!!
Mine :
- I loved the reactions and the cookies - I know I will repeat them again!

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