A Family Recipe
This handwritten recipe was recently discovered in my mother-in-law's old recipe box. I have been slowly working my way through her collection of recipes as well as my mother's recipes to determine which of them we wish to keep.
Now I will be the first to tell you that eating almond paste cookies—despite the fact that they contain some healthful attributes—will never make the portion of the food pyramid that nutritionists espouse. But for an aromatic and delicious sweet treat, these cookies are hard to beat for flavor. Eat and enjoy them in moderation if you can control yourself!
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup almond paste (I used just 7 ounces, which came in one package)
- 1/2 cup nutmeats
- Cream the butter with the sugar and, when well mixed, beat in the eggs.
- Add the flour and baking soda to the creamed mixture. I almost always sift the dry ingredients together just to make sure that there are no lumps in the mixture so that it gets evenly distributed in the batter.
- Mix in the almond paste. If the dough gets too stiff and hard to work with, add a few drops of water. Since I only used 7 ounces or 198 grams of the paste instead of the 8 ounces it called for in the recipe, I did not have to add any water. Apparently, this nut paste used to be sold in larger packages years ago.
- Finally, mix in the nuts. You can use any kind of nut you may have on hand.
- Drop by half-rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. I used Pam cooking spray. Leave plenty of space between the cookies, because they spread out quite a bit. I only put 12 cookies on each normal-sized cookie sheet and it was perfect. Note: The recipe did not call for this, but I decided to press a slivered almond on the top of each ball of dough before baking just for decorative purposes.
- Bake in a 325°F oven for 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn a golden brown.
- After the cookies are out of the oven, let them rest for 30 to 60 seconds before removing them from the cookie sheet to a wire rack for cooling.
Yield: Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.
Which Almond Paste Should You Use?
The brand that I used was Odense. According to their packaging, they have been in business since 1909, and it is "Made in Denmark using California Almonds."
They have some great-sounding recipes inside the box, all of which use this rich-tasting almond paste as an ingredient. They include:
- almond apple crumb pie
- macaroons, and
- pound cake
It would be worth purchasing a box just to acquire those recipes!
Where Do Almonds Come From? Where Are They Cultivated?
Originating from the Mediterranean, these trees are now grown in many other parts of the world where suitable growing conditions are met. This includes places like Spain, Greece, Turkey, Northern Africa, and even parts of the United States among other locations.
These particular trees thrive in warm to even hot temperatures as long as they get sufficient water. They do not like overly humid conditions. The gigantic Central Valley of California where a good percentage of United States food is grown is just about perfect for the growing of these trees. About 3/5 of the world's production comes from California and much of it is exported.
Eating various types of nuts can be a healthful addition to one's diet.
- Almonds are a good source of fiber.
- They are high in protein.
- They contain vitamin E as well as some B vitamins and minerals.
- Additionally, they have mostly monounsaturated fats which can potentially lower cholesterol among other good effects on the body.
In our home, we typically keep roasted ones on hand, as well as blanched slivered ones, almond extract, and occasionally almond milk for drinking.
Homemade Almond Paste
Did you know that you can make your own milk and paste from these nuts? The video below shows just how easy it is to accomplish making the milk. Leftover pulp can be used for soothing skin treatments by adding a few other fragrant ingredients.
There are many online recipes that will help you make your own almond paste if desired. Many of the recipes only have these four ingredients:
- whole blanched almonds
- powdered sugar
- egg white
- almond extract
There are many variations. As infrequently as I need this ingredient in my recipes, I think that I will simply purchase the tried and true Odense brand in the grocery store when needed.
© 2013 Peggy Woods