Almond Cookie Tartlets

Almond Cookie Tartlets One of the best tricks that I have learned in the last couple years has been how to make my own almond paste.  I adore almond paste.  It’s right up there with chocolate as one of my favorite flavors.   However, it’s kind of expensive so I’ve always saved it for special occasions. No more!  Now I can make special-occasion almond treats any time without a trip to the store for the freshest almond paste.  Once such treat are these Almond Cookie Tartlets from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra.  A soft, buttery cookie dough encloses a tender ball of flavorful almond paste and is baked in a muffin tin.  A blanched almond is pressed into the top for decoration and a simple cookie becomes a treat worthy of an afternoon tea tray.   These would also be nice baked up in mini muffin tins for a smaller treat as they are fairly rich.

Almond paste is easy to make and softer and nicer to work with than the store bought stuff.   It’s simply equal parts (by weight) of blanched ground almonds and granulated sugar which is mixed in the food processor with enough beaten egg to bind it together.  A little lemon zest is stirred in at the end and I also like to add a small amount of almond extract for a little extra almond punch.  As long as I keep whole almonds (or almond flour/meal) on hand in my freezer, I can whip up a batch of paste any time I need it in any quantity!  For more detailed instructions, check out this post in which the Daring Bakers made almond paste for a spice cake.

Almond Cookie Tartlets
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dutch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Rich and buttery cookie dough filled with almond paste and topped with a crunchy blanched almond.
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup (4½ oz) superfine sugar
  • 1½ sticks (5¼ oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 egg, beaten (reserve 1 Tbsp.)
  • 10½ oz almond paste
  • 12 blanched almonds
Instructions
  1. Divide the almond paste into 12 portions and set aside. If it isn't malleable, stir in some extra beaten egg to soften it.
  2. Put all the dough ingredients, except for the egg, in the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Reserve 1 Tbsp. of beaten egg, then knead in the rest to make a supple dough. If the dough is too dry, add a drop or two of water. If the dough is too sticky, chill it briefly until you can handle it more easily.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the muffin pan and dust with flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 portions.
  6. Roll each portion of dough between your hands to form balls. Flatten each ball into a 2½ inch round. Place a portion of almond paste in the center of the dough round and gently ease the dough around the almond paste until it's completely enclosed.
  7. Flatten the ball slightly and place it in the muffin pan, seam side down. Shape the rest of the cookies the same way.
  8. Flatten the dough balls in the pan so that the tops are fairly flat.
  9. Brush the tops of the cookies with the reserved egg and press a blanched almond into the center of each cookie.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cookies are golden brown and cooked through.
  11. Let the cookies cool in the pan for 5 minutes before easing them out and setting them on a rack to cool completely.
Notes
These freeze well.

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