This coming week is Passover Week on my blog, when I attempt the daring feat of baking without flour. In preparation for the onslaught ahead, I made these cookies!
There are very few non-chocolate desserts that I’ll go for. I’ve been working on establishing my love for anything with a crumb topping, so we’re clear on that! And I do have a special fondness for cheesecake, as do most breathing human beings. But along with these exceptions to my rule, I love anything with marzipan or almonds. My German grandparents pretty much made sure of that by passing down their love of almond through my mother and straight to me.
I’m a total sucker for chewy almond cookies, the kind you get at good, old-school bakeries. Sometimes they’re plain, sometimes dipped in chocolate. They come in all different shapes. I don’t really care what they look like, as long as they’re soft. Once they age and get harder, I lose interest. When I was a kid, our local fishmonger used to sell them (no idea why), and his name was Mr. Moon. So, I’ve always called almond cookies Moon Cookies.
These are so moist and chewy, and the crunchy almond coating is a texture explosion. What’s even better is that these babies aren’t bad for you. They have no butter or oil, and they only use egg whites. A perfect, delicate cookie that anyone can eat! In fact, I gave my leftover cookies to people with a history of heart problems. These cookies are kind to your arteries. And they’re so good! They feel sinful, but really, they’re a healthier sweet escape.
Plus, they’ve got protein. Almonds, right? A healthy nut! Nuts are all the rage right now, as is protein. You’ve gotta watch your nutrition, after all.
The only thing you have to factor in when you make these is time. The dough is best left chilled overnight, since it’s too sticky to work with otherwise. They bake at a lower than normal temperature, and once they’ve cooled, you can dip the cookies into dark chocolate. Almonds and chocolate. Mmmmm.
By the way, if you can’t find almond paste, you can always make your own out of almonds, egg whites, butter, almond extract and sugar. There are some great online tutorials. And if you’re one of those people who goes mad for marzipan, these are for you. Here we go!
- 16 ounces almond paste
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 4 ounces dark chocolate chips (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the almond paste with the two sugars and blend until crumbly, about 5-6 minutes.
Add the salt, egg whites, and almond extract. Beat for about a minute.
Put the entire bowl into the freezer and keep there overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Put sliced almonds on a plate at your work station.
Take the dough out of the freezer and roll into balls about 2 tablespoons large. Cover the balls with sliced almonds and then shape however you like. You can leave the cookies in a circle or make moon shapes. Put on cookie sheets, but leave extra space. These cookies spread.
Bake 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Do not let them get too dark, or they will get hard and crunchy.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the cookie sheet. If you like, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and then dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Put on wax paper until hardened.
Eat within a few days, and store in an airtight container.