September 14, 2010

Pâte Sablée Chocolate Almond Cookies

I cannot wait to make these cookies again as Christmas gifts. They’re chocolate almond cookies, but the chocolate flavor dominates. The almond makes them very pretty though. Not to mention that they are crunchy and rich and it's absolutely impossible to have only one.

Okay, I have to give credit to cherryonacake.blogspot.com. But I rewrote the whole recipe and altered it significantly. Including the measurements—a labor intensive process. I can’t do ounces for volume. That is just crazy. So look at mine. These have a name I’m pretty sure, but I can’t come up with it. They are very reminiscent to me for some reason. I knew how exactly they’d taste before I made them. Isn’t that strange when that happens?

I recommend getting your hands on some quality cocoa powder. Hershey’s, though I love it, just won’t be the same. You need a cocoa powder that will be very fine, smooth, and silky. You’ll understand once you see it. The one I have is Italian, I have no idea what it’s called. But it’s such a rich color, with a reddish quality. It looks like the pigments Clyfford Still used in his paintings. I bought about ¼ kilo of it last Christmas from my local fancy rip-off baking supply store. Not sure if they’ll do that kind of drug dealing-esque bartering in the States (opening the original bag and putting it into another--sounds like some kind of health code violation to me). This is one of the advantages to being in a foreign country. I read recently that it’s impossible to find raw almonds in California these days, because of some pasteurization law that was recently passted. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Anyone know if that’s true?

On with the cookies! Las galletas malitas.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups of flour
1 scant cup cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of cold butter (115g approx.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of sliced almonds (1/2 for rolling, ½ for mix)

You’ll need one large bowl and one small bowl, a sifter (mesh sieve), and maybe a spatula, depending on how messy you want to get. Food processor helped me out too, but it’s not essential.


--Pulse half of the almonds in food processor, or just crush by hand into tiny pieces.
--Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the dry ingredients with your hands, until you achieve a gritty, sandy, texture. (I ended up putting this in the food processor to get that consistency. But they say you can do it with your hands. I took it out afterward.)
--Mix with almonds.
--Then, mix the sugar through evenly, and add the beaten egg and vanilla to the mix. Stir it around with a spatula or your hands. (It’s going to seem too powdery and not dough-like, but it’ll work. It’s just the nature of the cookie.)
--Now roll it into balls, and then into logs. You’ll get two long logs or several shorter ones. If you want the cookies to be bigger, make thicker logs. (I like them bite-size to have with coffee or milk. Or as gifts. Roll them around in the other half of the almonds.)
--Refrigerate about half an hour to an hour—depending on how cold your fridge is—until firm. (You could leave it in there overnight or for a day or two, well wrapped, if you want to make them later.)
--Preheat oven to 190 C when you start getting antsy to make them.
--Remove dough logs, and slice with a sharp knife, about ¾ of an inch thick.
--Bake for about 25 minutes. (For high altitude. It’s probably around 13-15 minutes at a lower altitude.)
--The cookies will be pretty soft to the touch when you take them out of the oven. Don’t let this fool you. They will harden by cooling. They’re supposed to be crunchy, but not rock-solid.

After two days, the taste and crunchiness seems to fade, even though I stored them in airtight containers. So I’d recommend eating them right out of the oven or the next day.

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