Almond Crackle Cookies - Two Ways April 01 2012


I clipped the original recipe for this post from a King Arthur catalog (2008). King Arthur calls them Almond Cloud Cookies, but they look like crackles to me. The original recipe is simple, calls for just a few ingredients and one mixing bowl. The cookies are slightly chewy and macaroon-ish and magically delicious. Some almond macaroon recipes combine the sugars, but here the confectioners’ sugar is sprinkled liberally over the unbaked cookies. I suppose you could also pipe this dough, but an ice cream scoop/disher works well and gives perfect results. For serving, I like these best with an assortment of other small cookies or little desserts. And they would be awesome with a fresh fruit salad for dessert.


The original recipe calls for an optional 1/8 tsp of bitter almond oil, or lemon or orange oil. Having tried the recipe several ways, I prefer it with straight almond extract so there is no distraction from the intense almond flavor. And I add a pinch of salt — that tiny bit makes a difference.





Almond Crackles I

20-24 cookies (depending on size)


Preheat oven to 325º.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment

 

10 ounces almond paste

1cup/7 ounces sugar

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp almond extract

pinch of salt

Confectioners’ sugar for topping


In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, blend the almond paste and sugar until the mixture forms fine crumbs.


Add the lightly beaten egg whites in a slow steady stream while continuing to mix. Mix until you have a smooth paste. Add the almond extract.


Using a 1/2 or 3/4 ounce cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared pans.


Using a flour sifter or a fine strainer, dust the cookies heavily with confectioners’ sugar.  I like to use the tips of 3 fingers (thumb, forefinger and middle finger) pressed together make a pattern on the top of each cookie. You could also use the end of a wooden spoon, or skip this all together.


Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until light brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet pans.



Vanilla, chocolate or a 50/50 sandwich.




This brings us to Almond Crackles II. And you're thinking, "Wait. What?".

I know. Why mess with a good thing, and if it ain't broke don't fix it... words to live by unless,  like me, you like to fiddle with recipes.


I had in mind a cookie for grown-up ice cream sandwiches. My variation has a more cake-like texture with the crunch of sliced almonds in the cookie and on top. I added whole eggs (vs. just whites), flour, leaveners and sliced almonds to the dough as well as on top of each cookie. The powdered sugar still gives a nice crackle.


Don't be turned off, the "dough" doesn't look pretty when it goes on the sheet pans, but that little problem is solved with baking them off - they will look lovely when they come out of the oven!


Almond Crackles II
approx. 28-30 cookies

Preheat oven to 325º.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment

1 cup/4.8 oz all purpose flour (unbleached)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

10 ounces almond paste 
1 cup/7ounces sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
4 oz blanched, sliced almonds (for dough)
3 oz blanched, sliced almonds (for topping cookies)
Confectioners’ sugar for topping


In a small bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda.


In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, blend the almond paste and sugar until the mixture forms fine crumbs.


Add the eggs  in a slow steady stream while continuing to mix. Mix until you have a smooth paste. Add the almond extract. 


Add the flour mixture until just combined then add 4 oz almonds and mix until just combined


Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared pans. The dough will be very wet and loose, even runny looking. Divide the 3 oz sliced almonds for topping evenly over the cookies.


Using a sifter or a fine strainer, dust the cookies heavily with confectioners’ sugar. 


Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until light brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans.