Tag Archives: almond extract

photo by King Arthur Flour Company

So… I’m not really into Halloween.  First of all, I grew up out in the boon-docks where the only trick-or-treaters we saw was my little cousin Jill who lived a mile down the road.  We never even bought Halloween candy, because God forbid we would ever consume any processed sugar.  But my mom, always the hostess, made sure to make a small batch of cookies for Jill when she showed up in her costume.  Not that I ever got to eat any of them.  I’m not bitter.

Secondly, I find it all a bit too much.  I don’t watch scary movies and I don’t really enjoy looking at “ugly stuff” (witches, zombies, bloody hands, etc.), so a whole day of celebrating it is just too much for me. And since we didn’t celebrate Halloween at home (for religious reasons) there’s not even a nostalgic significance for me.  So generally, I pass.

And then there’s Dia De Los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead.  My brain tends to put that in a different category than Halloween because at least it is about celebrating the lives of the ancestors.  The irony is not lost on me, don’t worry.

Admittedly, I find some of the artwork fascinating and while I didn’t grow up celebrating Dia De Los Muertos either, it is a Mexican tradition and so for illogical reasons, I am more tolerant of it.

So what does all this have to do with our Friday Recipe?  I will tell you…

Thanks to the internet being flooded with Halloween recipes right now, I ran across this recipe from King Arthur Flour that at first caught my attention because of the shape of the cookies:  bones.  Not something you see every day.  Then I scrolled down and saw that they were made with almond flour and almond extract and I was sold.  I just adore almond extract, it makes me happy.  In fact, I have been using Amaretto flavored coffee creamer in my coffee all this week.

This recipe is really easy: basically mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, roll out the dough into “snakes”, crimp the ends to look like bones, let them sit overnight and bake.  So easy! Of course, you could make them into any shapes you wanted, or no special shapes at all and they will be just as yummy.

Coincidentally, they link to another recipe for Almond Cloud Cookies that are even more appealing to me because it requires almond paste, which makes me go weak in the knees. They describe them as “Chewy-crisp and intensely almond-y.”  Ummm, yes please!

So there you have it, 2 cookie recipes for your weekend.  Whip up a batch, brew a little coffee, and relax.  Or dress up like Lady Gaga and go door-to-door begging your neighbors for candy.  Your choice.

Ossi di Morto (Bone of the Dead) Cookies via King Arthur Flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/10/26/bones-of-the-dead/

Almond Cloud Cookies via King Arthur Flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/almond-cloud-cookies-recipe


Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

I have a confession:  I don’t usually like chunks of dried fruit.  I suppose it’s the texture more than anything that bothers me but for whatever reason I won’t usually eat something if it has… say raisins in it.   The same goes for dried blueberries, apricots, peaches, apples, persimmons, etc., etc…. you get the point.

And then last week at work I received this little gift:

Weird gift, right?  Except… at my day job we build and sell tree shakers.  Big machines that shake ripe fruit and nuts from their trees.  The cherries in this container were shaken from their tree by one of our shakers.  It’s kinda fun to see the end product of everyone’s labor, from the welders that molded the machine together to the farmers who grew the fruit.  And here it sits on my desk, farm to table.  Very cool.

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, cookies!

Even though I normally have a bad attitude about dried fruit, I was determined to incorporate these ruby gems into a recipe.  I grew up on a cherry far for goodness sake, I can think of something!  And that’s when Cherry Almond Cookies were born.

I figured if I chopped the cherries up super fine, the texture would no longer be an issue and I would still get all that great cherry flavor.  Problem solved!

I started with a base recipe from my Grandma Shirley that includes a healthy dose of natural almond flavor.  Why almond?  (Hold on to your seats because this is where the geek in me comes out.)  Did you know that almonds and cherries are related?  Yep, they are both from the Prunus genus of fruiting trees.  If you have ever cracked open the pit of a cherry, peach or nectarine you may have noticed the resemblance to an almond.  Their kissing cousins! Without hesitation I knew this flavor combo would work.  Plus the tartness of the cherries would play well against the richness of the butter. One whole cup of butter to be exact.  I never said these were health-food cookies!

My Grandma’s original recipe (Chinese Almond Cookies) is so ridiculously simple, the only ingredient you might not already have in your cupboard is pure almond extract.  If you don’t have it, go get some!  You can use it in a ton of recipes from baked goods to coffee to cocktails.  And if you happen to accidentally splash a little on you while cooking, it will make you smell irresistible.  To squirrels, that is.

cherry almond cookies raw cookie dough

Here is how simple the recipe is:

  • Sift together your dry ingredients.  And by “sift” I mean dump them all in the mixing bowl and use a whisk to quickly combine them all together.
  • Add the fat of your choice, butter or Crisco.  I usually choose salted butter.  Cut the butter in til the whole mixture resembles wet sand.  You can do it by hand or with a mixer.
  • Add the eggs, almond extract and in this case, finely chopped dried cherries until it all comes together in one big ball of dough.

And now you’re ready for baking!  That whole process comes together in less than 5 minutes and with only 18 minutes of baking time you can have buttery, delicious cookies in under 30 minutes and you will love me because they are awesome!  I will post the whole recipe below.

Have a terrific summer weekend, bake some cookies, enjoy this crazy life!

Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or shortening, softened

1 slightly beaten egg

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries

1/4 cup slivered or halved almonds

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, using a whisk to gently stir till all combined and no lumps are visible.  With an electric mixer or by hand cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal or wet sand.  With an electric mixer or large wooden spoon add egg, extract and dried cherries, mixing gently until one large, soft ball of dough forms.  Using a small spoon, scoop out a small portion of dough and roll into a 1″ ball, about the size of a walnut.  Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet with about 1 inch in between each cookie.  Take an almond half or a couple slivers of almond and lightly press them onto the top of the dough ball, pressing down slightly so the middle has a slight indentation.  Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are just barely beginning to turn golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before eating.  Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.