We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cookie Recipe #68 - Amaretti Crisps

This is definitely a coffee-dunking cookie. Replace your morning doughnut with one of these crunchy almond rings.
Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups sliced almond, toasted, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 egg whites, room temperature, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
Instructions: Place the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place mixing bowl and whisk beaters in freezer for further use. Remove toasted almonds from oven. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees; line baking sheets with parchment paper. Process almonds and confectioners' sugar in a food processor until ground to a fine powder. (This is an important step-I used a small electric chopper and I think I didn't get the almonds chopped up fine enough thus causing problems further down the line). Transfer ground mixture to a bowl; set aside.
Put egg whites in the cold mixing bowl and using the cold beaters, mix on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into almond mixture; fold in almond extract.
Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip. Pipe twenty 2 inch rings onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart (this is where I had difficulty-I couldn't get the mixture to pass through the tip because the almonds were still too big. I took a small spoon and formed a circle with the dough, by hand. It seemed to work.)
Bake cookies in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to wire racks and allow to cool completely.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days; makes about 20 crisps.
"Martha Stewart's Cookies", published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, in 2008.
Cookies Rule!!!

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