Melt-in-your-mouth, super easy to make almond cookies that will bring raves. Huge raves! They never disappoint, keep for a few weeks and are perfect for gift giving.
These little sugar-coated butter balls are the ultimate holiday cookie.
Who doesn't need a recipe for easy gifts?
You can wrap them and give them as hostess' gifts, or take them to whatever party you're going where you don't want to arrive empty-handed. They are a crowd-pleaser. Great with coffee, mulled wine or as an after-dinner sweet bite.
All types, but mainly almonds and walnuts which I toast lightly, and hazelnuts which, in my opinion, are almost useless if they're not toasted. Have you ever tried an un-toasted, skin-on hazelnut? Yeah, not good. If in doubt, this hazelnut loaf will make it clear.
Toasting, in general, opens flavors. Such is the case with spices and seeds that are toasted in a skillet before going into a curry or something similar. I wouldn't think of using sesame seeds in a salad without toasting them first. The same goes for the almonds in this recipe. I believe they make all the difference.
Every year I decide to make homemade gifts to give to friends, and also to those working with me.
Every year I fail, except for that one occasion years ago when I gave them boxes of oatmeal and chocolate cookies. They still remind me again every year, just in case I decide to honor my decision.
Maybe this will be the year. And this is certainly a fitting recipe.
It's similar to shortbread, so I can freeze it, giving me little space for blaming the hectic last months of the year for not following through with my gift-giving.
I have a list of holiday baking and have saved many recipe ideas so there will be no excuse to buy last-minute uninteresting gifts just because you have to.
- 1 cup butter (at room tº )
- 4 Tbs confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup ground toasted almonds
- Extra confectioners' sugar (for coating)
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add almond extract and beat well.
- Add flour, 1 cup at a time and then the almonds. Mix just until smooth.
- Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Roll portions of cold dough between your palms to form balls. Place 1-inch apart on lined baking tray.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are a bit golden and cracked.
- Let cool on a wire rack. Roll in some extra confectioners' sugar to coat.
- These cookies freeze well unbaked. When you need them, just line them up on a parchment-lined or greased baking tray, thaw, and bake.
Nuts: I like to toast them before adding them. Use pistachios, pecans or walnuts instead of the almonds.
Keywords: butterballs, almond cookies
barely adapted from Kathleen's Bake Shop Cookbook, by Kathleen King