Weeknight Kitchen: Almond Shortbread
This week's cookie recipe for Almond Shortbread is from Valerie Gordon's Sweet. Valerie coyly calls this recipe "a well-made cardigan," and indeed, we think it's a classic to have in your wardrobe.
This cookie is like a well-made cardigan: it always presents handsomely and requires very little fuss. Almond flour gives the cookie a tender bite and a subtle nutty flavor. Replace the almond flour with hazelnut, pecan, or pistachio flour if you prefer. I make these cookies year-round and always have a log or two in the freezer.
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk together both flours in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the flours 1/2 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the salt and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
3. Turn the dough out onto a cool surface and divide it into quarters. Roll each piece into a log measuring about 1 inch thick and 6 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
4. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
5. Slice the logs into rounds approximately 1/3 inch thick and place them on an ungreased large heavy baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges appear golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets on cooling racks for 10 minutes.
6. Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Storing: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week or transferred to Ziploc freezer bags and frozen for up to 2 months.
Variation: Chocolate-covered almond shortbread with fleur de sel: Temper 1 pound 61% bittersweet chocolate. Dip the almond shortbread cookies in the chocolate and top them with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2013. Photographs by Peden + Munk. Via splendidtable.org.