Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spicy Chocolate Almond Cookies

While it is true year-round, I find that baking becomes more than just the act of measuring out some flour or butter, whisking egg whites or adding sugar.  It's a way for me to show how much I care, how grateful I am for those who have touched my life.

After spotting these cookies last year, they were at the top of my baking list this year.  I changed up the recipe a bit and added just enough heat to make each bite interesting.  I hope everyone that received these loved these as much as I did, and I suspect this will be the first batch of many!

Spicy Chocolate Almond Cookies
adapted from Saveur
yield: 5-6 dozen

The spice level of your cookie depends on the chocolate you use.  Mine was chipotle cinnamon, and there was some definite heat in the finish (Taza has similar flavors).  Feel free to adjust according to your tastes- try cinnamon or orange flavored dark chocolate for a less spicy cookie.

8oz almond meal (finely ground almonds)
1 1/2c evaporated cane juice
6oz spicy semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (*see headnote)
1 1/2t ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1/2t ground cloves
2 lg egg whites, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a food processor, add almond meal, sugar and chocolate.  Pulse until chocolate is finely ground and well distributed.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to make a thick dough.  Wrap dough tightly and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

When you're ready to make the cookies, take half of the dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper.  Transfer the remaining dough back to the fridge while you roll out the first half.  Roll out the dough to ~1/8" thickness.  Using cookie cutters, cut dough to your desired shape (the size will determine how many cookies you get).  If the dough is too sticky, pop it into the freezer (still in between parchment) for 10-15min and then try cutting again.  I found the warmer my hands got, the tougher the dough was to work with, so keep that in mind when handling the dough.  Transfer cut cookies to parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them 1" apart.  Re-roll scraps and repeat, then start with the second half of the dough from the fridge.

Let the dough dry for 3 hours.  (note:  I've seen some recipes that forgo this step, so I'm not sure it's completely necessary)

Preheat the oven to 300deg.  Bake until slightly puffed, 12-15min.  Let cool completely on cookie sheets.  Store in an airtight container.

Have you been doing any holiday baking??  If so, what have you been making?


Biz said...

I agree, making baked goods is such nice way to say thanks! I made a homemade version of Chicago Mix popcorn (half cheese half caramel), and classic sugar cookies. And of course, I had to get a bottle of Buffalo Tabasco for my relatives - gotta share the spicy love!

Happy Holidays Shannon!

Delicious Dishings said...

These sound lovely. I managed to make one quick batch of cookie bars, but I haven't gotten much baking in besides that. We're finally moving all our stuff into our new house this weekend so hopefully I'll be cooking and baking up a storm again soon!

Joanne said...

I can tell you from my tasting of these that they were totally awesome! I will definitely be adding them to Christmas baking list!

Elizabeth said...

I love that first photo!

Erica said...

What a unique and beautiful cookie! I will have to try these. I have been a baking machine! MOre to come tomorrow ;)

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

I'm so impressed with all the baking you've done for the holidays!

Sacha said...

These sound right up my alley. And there's nothing like Vietnamese Cinnamon! Happy Holidays.

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I love when chocolate is spiced up a little. These cookies sound great! Happy Holidays!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I baked like a mad woman this holiday season! And I loved every minute :) These sound delightful. hope you are enjoying the last few days of the year!

Bridget said...

You always make cookies with such interesting flavor combos! They sound awesome and look adorable :)

Kerstin said...

What pretty stars! The chocolate and flavor combo sounds awesome :)

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