freedom fighters

I did not make these cookies in an ironic vintage apron, or shape them using my grandmother’s collection of hand-carved springerle molds smuggled from the old country, or cut them with cookie cutters I made one magical snowy afternoon when the kids and I took a break from learning Portuguese folk songs on the didgeridoo to bend re-purposed copper drainpipes into cookie cutters.  I did not scour the counter, then artfully sprinkle flour and spices in little piles onto it that I could pretend to photograph casually.  I did not stand on a chair, or the table, to take the picture, which I did not take with a classic Hasselblad.

I did run out of eggs (thanks a lot, chickens) and find myself with no time to speak of in between appointments to make something to take to book group (so much for brownies, o ye eggless larder). And I took the picture with my phone. I set a high bar for other bloggers.

If you are looking for a cookie that can be fed to a crowd, this may be it.  Though unassuming in appearance, it is a kick-ass cookie.  I am not going to tell you that it will meet everyone's needs.  Read this essay (and the one it links to) for a glimpse into what happens when you try to please all the people all the time.

If you have a lot of people of divergent tastes to please and one dessert to do it with, my feeling has always been: splurge on a nice fruit bowl.  Steer clear of the vegan gluten-free paleo eclairs.

If, however, you have to make some cookies that no one who is allowed to eat them will think they are allowed to eat, give these bad boys a try. Notice I did not say that lots of people are allowed to eat them.  Gluten free people and egg-free people can. People who can’t eat almonds cannot.  This is not their cookie.

a hell of a cookie, all things considered

  • 1 c. gluten-free flour (I favor this one; you may have a GF flour you prefer, or go ahead and rock on with AP flour if your audience has no special needs)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¼ c golden flax meal
  • large pinch of good, flaky salt
  • finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut in 1” pieces
  • 3.5 ozs (half a tube) of almond paste, cut in 1” pieces
  • 2T excellent olive oil
  • 1T honey
  • 1t vanilla

Combine the first six ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until they are finely incorporated. Now let the machine run for about thirty seconds to a minute, until the dough gathers together.

On a sheet of wax paper, pat the dough into a log and chill it for about 10 minutes in the freezer if you are in a rush, or in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.  In my haste to get out the door, I baked only half the dough and stuffed the other half back into the freezer instead of the fridge.  The next day I sliced and baked a second batch pretty much straight from that frozen log and the results were indistinguishable.

Heat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Slice the cookies a fat ¼ “ thick and arrange them on the sheet (they barely spread at all).  Bake until just golden on the edges, and let them cool on the parchment for a few minutes before moving them to a rack.  They are perilously soft when first baked, but nice and sturdy once they cool.