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.
Truly outstanding! Crisp edges and soft chewy center. I used fresh oranges for grated peel and Amaretto. Wonderful aroma when removing from the oven :) . I found I used 1-2 extra Tablespoons of flour mixed in to take away stickiness when shaping into disks. I froze them for only 5-10 minutes. If frozen longer the dough is stiff and cracks when rolling. My recipe made 4 1/2 dozen cookies. This is definitely going to be a holiday favorite.
I found the dough to be very temperamental to work with. You basically need to have it at the perfect temperature to roll: any warmer and it's too sticky, any colder and it's too hard. I ended up making little balls of dough, flattening them a bit with my palms, brushing egg whites on top, and sprinkling chopped slivered almonds on top. They still looked pretty doing it my way! The flavor/texture was great, which made up for the difficult dough.
I make these every year for my gift boxes, and they are great. A couple of things I have learned to help them hold up in baking. Once you cut them freeze them and then pull out, use egg and nuts when you are ready to bake. Don't roll the dough too thin. Finally, I baked in 350 oven for 8 minutes.
Really loved this recipe. The house smelled wonderful while these cookies were baking. Be careful how long you leave the dough in the freezer--if it's too cold, it will crack when you roll it out. I had to knead mine a few times to warm it up and make it pliable before rolling. Also, I cooked mine for about 18-20 minutes, but it could have just been that my oven temp is off. I made half of them at night, and saved the dough in the fridge until the next day, when I baked the rest--they were consistently wonderful.
Followed the recipe exactly -- ended up with flat, flaky, broken cookies!!!! Am willing to try again and maybe take the suggestion from one of the reviewers -- that is to make small balls and flatten. Will see if this turns out. Great flavor -- but I ended up with throwing away over half of my cookies. Curious about a chemistry reaction to the dough as it is cold and rainy today. Maybe the gluten in the flour did not work?
I tried these cookies even though I never thought my teenagers would go for them. Ha! They loved them. I did heat and burn off the alcohol in the amaretto before I added it to the cookies and I used an insulated cookie sheet which allowed me to bake the cookie fully without browning the edges. Tasty, chewy, and professional looking! These go in my recipe box.
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