These buttery cookies, decorated with sliced almonds and flavored with orange peel and amaretto, go to the lucky family and friends of Gary Connor every Christmas. Each year, he makes 10 or 15 homemade sweets to give away, including these liqueur-flavored treats.
About 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
3 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur, such as amaretto, or 1 tablespon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
About 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
How to Make It
In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 cup butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg yolk, liqueur, and orange peel and beat until well blended.
In another bowl, mix 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture; stir to mix, then beat until well blended. Gather dough into a ball, divide in half, and flatten each portion into a disk; wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm enough to roll without sticking, about 30 minutes.
Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll one disk at a time to about 1/4 inch thick. With a floured, 2-inch round cutter, cut out cookies. Place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Gather excess dough into a ball, reroll, and cut out remaining cookies.
In a small bowl, beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water to blend. Brush cookies with mixture and sprinkle or arrange about 1/2 teaspoon sliced almonds on each.
Bake cookies in a 325º regular or convection oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; if baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through cooking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.