As I was surfing Design*Sponge, one of the blogs I check out on a daily basis, I was introduced to the food blog Lottie + Doof's 12 Days of Cookies in the "in the kitchen with" series. I was instantly attracted to their Day 10 cookie, orange-almond buttons, for various reasons: 1) they combine orange and almond (my mom would love that), 2) they were pretty and 3) the recipe promised they would taste like Fruit Loops (I likey Fruit Loops!).
These cookies were easy to make and were quite a hit with everyone who tried them! It also fulfilled the promise of tasting like Fruit Loops without any artificial ingredients. As I look back now at the original recipe, I realize my cookies don't look exactly the same. Mine look smoother, which I'm guessing is because I grounded the almonds more finely. I also like the look of skins on the almond slices better but I couldn't find them at the grocery store.
Orange-Almond Buttons - Makes 36 cookies
From Lottie + Doof's 12 Days of Cookies.
The cookies were easy and quick to make. I was worried a bit about not properly whipping the egg whites and the batter being too runny but they came out well. I spooned the cookies rather than piping them.
Note that the almond quantities are broken down into two: for the cookies and for decorating. I read the recipe quickly and only bought ½ cup of almonds, and realized I needed one cup. Finally, I only used a handful of almonds for decorating since the cookies are pretty small.
* 2-½ ounces (heaping ½ cup) blanched or unblanched almonds
* ½ cup granulated sugar
* 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
* 2 extra-large egg whites
* ½ cup sliced almonds (for decorating)
* confectioner’s sugar (for decorating)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine nuts with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and process until it’s the consistency of a fine meal.
Add ¼ cup of the granulated sugar, the flour, and orange zest, and pulse on and off until just combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on low, until frothy.
Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the mixer to high, gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 more minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer.
In 3 batches, gently fold in the nut mixture to incorporate.
If using a pasty bag, fill it half full.
Working quickly, pipe or spoon (about 1-2 tsp) the batter into circles, about 1 inch in diameter and spaced about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Scatter about 3 to 5 sliced almonds over each circle, allowing the nuts to topple off the edge slightly while still clinging to the batter.
Sift a fine layer of powdered sugar over the cookies and bake about 20 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned, and the cookies are slightly firm to the touch.
(I sifted more sugar after they were baked - I thought the sugar's colour melded into the cookie.)
The orange zest made the batter very fragrant!
I tried to make my spoonfuls of batter consistently the same size!
These cookies are small enough for one bite!
For more ideas for Christmas baked goods:
* Last year's included chocolate hazelnut biscotti, French chocolate bark & cranberry pecan bars
* Chocolate Crinkles
* Date Squares
* Mocha Toffee Bars
* Truffles Three Way
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