June 19, 2009

Being creative

I love to bake. Now, I'm no expert, but my cooking skills are decent enough to turn out an ample amount of tasty cookies, muffins, cakes, and other baked goods. Or so my friends and family tell me. Any way, I do enjoy baking and cooking, and usually those who enjoy being in the kitchen tend to make good food. One would hope so, at least.

Over the last several weeks, I've been baking like crazy, trying new recipes, then experimenting with those recipes, and making or creating something at the request of others. Some weeks ago, my dad suggested I try making an almond butter cookie, kind of like a peanut butter cookie, but using almond butter instead of peanut butter. Since it sounded like a good idea, I searched online for a really good peanut butter cookie recipe and found one on the Cook's Illustrated website. I used an all natural, smooth almond butter, but you could use a chunky almond butter just as easily, and I substituted almond extract for the regular vanilla extract, just to add a little extra almond flavor. The original recipe also called for a cup of roasted nuts, ground up in a food processor to the consistency of bread crumbs, but I didn't use them. If you want, you could easily roast your own almonds and add them to the mix. I didn't use the full amount of salt called for, either, so you might want to reduce the amount to a ¼ teaspoon or less. If you use a salted almond butter, I would cut out the extra salt entirely.

Now, these aren't the prettiest looking cookies in the world, but they sure are tasty, almost addicting. In my most recent batch, I forgot to replace the vanilla extract with almond extract. The cookies were still good. They certainly didn't last long. However, I still think they're best with the almond extract. It just gives them that extra almond zing, if you know what I mean.

Almond Butter Cookies
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), salted, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup smooth or extra-crunchy all-natural almond butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup roasted almonds, ground in food processor to resemble bread
       crumbs (optional)

Adjust oven rack to low center position and preheat to 350º F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat butter with a wooden spoon until creamy. Add sugars, and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in almond butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then almond extract. Gently stir dry ingredients into almond butter mixture. Add ground almonds, and stir gently until just incorporated.

Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down each dough ball with the back of a dinner fork.

Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 - 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.

Makes about 40 cookies.

*Update (4/22/10): I baked these using the ground almonds for the first time the other day, and let me tell you, I didn't know what was missing before. They're still perfectly good without the addition, but the roasted almonds add a toasty, slightly crunchy note that makes them even more addicting.  It's easy to roast your own almonds -- just spread a cup out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350º for several minutes, then allow them to cool before grinding.


  1. Cookies made with nut butters taste great! These were very good ~ Michael

  2. These sound so good; I'm going to try them soon! - Peggy