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Two Amazing Almond Cookies from Julia



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Recipe Source:

The Way to Cook
by Julia Child, 1994, Alfred A. Knopf



Almond Bar Cookies

“These are dry, crisp, spicy cookies, twice baked, closely related to the
biscotti of Italy. They keep beautifully and are ever-useful to have on
hand in the cookie jar.”

For 3 to 5 dozen, depending on how you cut them

The first mixture
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 “large” eggs
1/3 cup fresh peanut oil
2 tablespoons cold water

The dry ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (scooped and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups slivered almonds, toasted*
Optional: confectioners’ sugar in a fine-meshed sieve

Special equipment suggested: A medium mixing bowl; a larger mixer
bowl; a heavy-duty mixer with flat beater is useful; a jelly-roll pan about
11 by 7 inches, buttered, lined with buttered wax paper, and floured;
2 pastry sheets for final baking; a large cake rack

*Toasted Almonds – Almonds take on their optimum flavor when toasted.
Buy blanched (skinless) almonds, spread them in a jelly-roll pan, and roast
to a toasty light brown in a 350 degree F oven, tossing several times.
Ahead-of-time note:
When thoroughly cool, pack into a screw-topped jar and freeze.

The dough. Beat the sugars, vanilla, eggs, oil, and water in the smaller
mixing bowl to dissolve the sugar. Blend the dry ingredients in the larger mixer bowl and beat in the sugar mixture, using the heavy-duty mixer or
a strong arm. This is a heavy dough. If it is too thick to spread in the next
step, beat in droplets more water.
Into the pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Turn the dough into the pan and press it in place with wet hands. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and smooth the dough under it with your hands. Remove the plastic.
First baking at 325 degrees F – 25 minutes or more. Bake in the middle level of the preheated oven until firm to the touch and lightly browned.
Cutting. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Unmold
onto a board, and peel off the wax paper. Cut into strips, then cut each
strip crosswise [illustration in cookbook] making pieces of any size you
wish – 1 1/4 by 3 inches, for example.
Second baking at 300 degrees F – 40 minutes or more. Arrange the cookies on the pastry sheets and bake until a nice walnut brown, crisp to
the touch, and crunchy to the tooth – eat one to make sure – and return
the pan to the oven if necessary. This second baking also gives the cookies their interesting taste.
Serving and storing. Cool on a rack, Serve them as is, or decorate with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Unsugared cookies keep for weeks in an airtight container.


Almond Wafers: Tuiles aux Amandes

“Almond wafers are the perfect accompaniment to sherbets, ice creams,
and fruit desserts. Delicate, crisp, light – your own freshly baked wafers
will be hard to beat.”

For 45 wafers, 3 inches across

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (scant 2 egg whites)
1/3 cup plain bleached cake flour, scooped
and leveled, in a sifter set over wax paper
1/3 cup blanched almonds, pulverized *
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup or so shaved almonds (bought in packages)

Special equipment suggested: 2 or 3 buttered baking sheets; a 2-quart mixing bowl, wooden spoon, and rubber spatula; a flexible-blade spatula;
a rolling pin braced so it won’t roll; a large cake rack

* To pulverize nuts. You can grate them fine, if you have such a specialized machine. Otherwise pulverize not more than 1/2 cup at a time in a food
processor in a blender, for 3/4 cup at a time in a food processor with steel
blade – always adding 1 tablespoon or more of granulated sugar to prevent
the nuts from turning oily. Don’t overpulverize – they should be dry and
powdery; otherwise they will lump when you fold them into a batter or
egg whites.

Preliminaries. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and set the rack in the
middle level. Butter the baking sheets, and measure out all the ingredients listed.
The cookie batter.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with
a wooden spoon. When soft and fluffy, add the egg whites, stirring only
enough barely to blend. Sift on the flour and begin folding it in with a
rubber spatula; when almost blended, fold in the ground almonds,
almond extract, and vanilla.
Onto the baking sheets.
Drop 1-tablespoon gobs of batter onto a pre-
pared baking sheet, spacing the gobs 3 inches apart. With the back of a
spoon, smear out each into a thin, almost transparent disk 2 1/2 inches
in diameter. Top each with a pinch of the shaved almonds.
Baking at 425 degrees F – about 4 minutes.
Set a filled sheet in the preheated oven and bake until a 1/8-inch border around the cookies has browned lightly. (Form a new sheet while the first is baking.) Open the
oven door and set the baking sheet on it, to keep the cookies flexible
during the unmolding process. Quickly slide the flexible spatula under
a cookie; lift it off and onto the rolling pin [illustration included in cook-
book]. Continue rapidly with the rest – they crisp in a few seconds.
Close the oven door and let the temperature return to 425 degrees F
before baking the next batch.
Serving and storing.
The wafers lose their crisp in humid atmosphere.
It’s best to serve them soon after baking, or to keep them in a warming
oven at 100 degrees F. However, since the curved roof-tile tuile shape
is difficult to store, you may wish to crisp them flat on a rack if you
are making them ahead and freezing them.

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