I have been meaning to try these Italian cookies for years but they always ended up on the cut list as time grew short in the dessert party preparations. I found the recipe on the foodnetwork site - you can find it here.
The first ingredient requested in the recipe are "blanched" almonds.
Blanching is one of those words you hear a lot but don't necessarily know (at least I didn't know what it really meant), so I looked it up in one of my reference cook books to see if I had to do anything special.
I decided since I purchased sliced almonds rather than whole, all I needed to do was chop 1 3/4 cups almonds and not worry about the blanching part.
I put the almonds in my mini-chopper and pulsed until they were finely chopped.
Add the nuts to a large mixing bowl.
(Okay, so I didn't finely chop all of them, but figured this was good enough.)
Add 3 tablespoons flour,
And the finely grated zest of 1 orange
(mine is not so finely grated since I use a cheese grater)
And add 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Then stir the mixture together until well combined and set aside.
In a small saucepan, add 3/4 cup sugar,
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
And 5 tablespoons unsalted butter and cook over medium heat
Stir occasionally and cook until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Boil for another minute or two and then remove from heat.
And stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pour the mixture into the almond mixture and stir just to combine
Set aside until cool enough to handle.
I didn't take this step very seriously, but I highly recommend waiting at least 30 minutes to an hour for the mixture to cool, or else it will be difficult to handle (read: painful).
Once cool, roll rounded teaspoons of batter into balls.
Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet
a warning here - this is the bad example of how not to space the balls
because that batch turned out like this:
Trust me when I tell you to keep the balls on the small side and give them plenty of space
they spread out pretty far.
Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout - about 10 - 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, you have the option to drizzle melted chocolate on top
But I didn't get the consistency of the melted chocolate right so I gave up after unsuccessfully trying one or two
Another cautionary tale . . .
(I make the mistakes so you don't have to)
be extra careful when transferring the cookies to a rack to cool (and where you leave the cooling rack), these cookies are extremely fragile
and will shatter all over your floor at the slightest provocation.
After the missteps, I thought they turned out beautifully, and tasted delicious.
- 1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla