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JOY OF BAKING

Thin, crisp almond cookies

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
By Jill Gibson
June 2, 2010

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Makes 25 to 30

Very thin and especially crisp, these traditional Belgian cookies, from Flo Braker’s award-winning “Sweet Miniatures,’’ are perfect beside a bowl of summer berries. Shape the dough by hand or use a 6-by-9-inch glass baking dish to give you the same shape. Refrigerate the mixture until firm for at least 4 hours (or make the dough a day ahead). Then cut it carefully with a long, sharp knife into ultra thin slices. Their thinness is what makes these cookies unique. Turbinado sugar, like brown sugar but paler and drier, gives these cookies a distinctive golden color and crunch; it is in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water
2 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sliced almonds
1. Cover a baking sheet with plastic wrap or line a 6-by-9-inch glass baking dish with plastic wrap.

2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and water until the butter melts; don’t let it boil. Most of the sugar will not be dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and almonds. Mix well. Cool 5 minutes.

4. On the sheet covered with plastic wrap, shape the dough into a 5-by-8-inch rectangle that is 1-inch high, rounding the edges and corners slightly. Or press the dough into a 6-by-9-inch dish. Cover with more plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Lift the block of dough from the baking sheet or dish. Set it on a cutting board, discarding the plastic wrap. Using a long, sharp knife, slice the dough crosswise into rectangles as thin as a coin. Space the cookies on the baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.

7. Bake for 8 minutes, until the cookies feel slightly firm and the undersides are golden brown. With a wide metal spatula, turn the cookies over and bake 8 minutes more.

8. Leave the cookies on the sheet to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Adapted from “Sweet Miniatures’’