This year we decided not to get a tree, mom donated or threw out most of our Christmas decorations, and for the first time I am not hosting any baking parties as many of my friends are traveling or not coming home for Christmas this year. I’m struggling to find the annual rhythm, but one thing remains the same, Christmas cookies must be made. While Aunty Cathy has me beat currently with her multiple batches of nanaimo bars, and gingerbread cookies, I vowed I will turn it around this week. I made the classic Almond Acorns from Canadian Living this weekend and forced my cousins into dipping them for me. I have fond memories of making these with Monika, likely for the first time in 2001, when this magazine was published. She was a fan of the whimsical shape but I think everyone can get behind their crumbly nuttiness. I would recommend not grinding the almonds too fine (stoneground cornmeal, not flour texture) to get the best out of them.
Adapted from Canadian Living
Depending on size of cookies makes anywhere from 3 – 5 dozen
1 1/3 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups salted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 0z semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. Roast almonds at 350F for 10 minutes or until toasty and fragrant. Cool and then grind the almonds with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a food processor. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter with remaining white and brown sugar. Stir in vanilla.
3. Add 1 cup of flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder and mix until just combined, before adding remaining flour. Stir in almond mixture. If dough seems excessively sticky add in more flour or chill for 1 hour.
4. Roll into balls and pinch one end to form a tear drop shape, placing finished cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 1 hour or up to one day.
5. Bake at 350F for 12 min., or until the sides are lightly gold. Ideally bake one pan at a time, but I usually do two at a time, rotating at the 6 minute mark. Let cool on pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a rack. Let cool completely before dipping as cookies are very tender.
6. Melt chocolate (I prefer the microwave at around 70% power for a minute or less at a time, stirring at each interval). Dip the rounded end of each cookie in chocolate to resemble an acorn cap. Place on waxed paper and chill briefly to set the chocolate. I advise storing the cookies between layers of waxed paper to keep them looking their best.