This is a deceptively delicious cookie. The ingredient list is simple, the dough only uses one pot and the final product is a humble, brown, plain looking cookie. But as we all come to learn, with cooking as with life, many of the best things come from simplicity. Less is more.
And these almond cookies are the epitome of simple done really, really well.
They’re crisp, crunchy, nutty, and have just a touch of cinnamon for warmth. They’re utterly addicting. I first made these a few years ago for my husband’s care packages— I figured they would be a really good, durable cookie to ship overseas. Yes, they do ship well, but the recipe also makes so many cookies I never felt bad about keeping, say, a dozen for myself. If you’re concerned about curb appeal, you can dress these cookies up with a drizzle or dip in dark chocolate, like I did here.
The recipe is also a great base to branch off from for more creative flavors, should you want to experiment (just promise me you’ll try them as is first). Around Christmas time, I often ramp up the cinnamon to 1 tsp and mix in some orange zest. You could also play up the almond flavor with an added teaspoon of almond extract. Since melted butter is the starting point of the dough, I’ve also considered (but haven’t yet tried!) browning the butter first for an extra nutty, savory quality. There are a ton of different ways you could modify these cookies, but don’t forget that their beauty lies in the crunchy texture and the delicate biscoff- like simplicity.
Over the years, I’ve streamlined the process to make sure the best parts of the cookie are intentionally met, every time. The turbinado sugar can add a delicious crunch, so I make sure to add it at the very end of melting the butter so the crystals don’t fully dissolve. I also sprinkle and mix the baking soda into the butter mix, then add all of the flour to cut back on an additional and unnecessary bowl. And I add a touch of salt to enhance all of the flavors and make these cookies even more addicting.
chocolate dipped almond cookies (pain d'amande)
makes 80- 90 cookies (depending on how thinly you slice them) | recipe by Flo Braker via David Lebovitz
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, cubed
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 cups (300g) coarse crystal golden sugar (raw turbinado)
2 1/3 cups (325g) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (85g) sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched
melted dark chocolate, for dipping (optional)
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat with the water, cinnamon and salt. Don't let the mixture boil. Stir until the butter is just about melted, with a few pieces still floating, then stir in the sugar. This will maintain the crystal structure of sugar and prevent it from fully dissolving.
Remove from heat and stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture and mix well. Then stir in the flour until well mixed.
Line a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan with plastic wrap and press the dough into the pan so the top is smooth. Chill until firm. (my loaf pans were all in use, so in the pictures below I used a 9" x 9" pan, filled halfway with dough, with no problems)
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C.)
Using a very sharp chef’s knife, slice the dough crosswise, as thin as possible, into rectangles. If you can get them as thin as a coin, all the better. The thinner they are, the more delicate and crisp they’ll be.
Space the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 8- 12 minutes, or until the cookies feel slightly firm and the undersides are golden brown. Flip the cookies over and bake an additional 8- 12 minutes, until the cookies are crisp and deep golden-brown on top. The baking times depend on how thin you cut the cookies.
Cool completely. Dip in melted dark chocolate, if desired. Store in an airtight bin until ready to serve.
The almond cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to three days. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days, or frozen for up to two months, if well-wrapped.