I have a very hard time falling for the so called "healthy" cookie. I simply do not believe it exists, and if it does, it probably doesn't taste that good or simply isn't really a cookie. Sure, I've seen a fair share of vegan recipes, ones fortified with 30 pounds of whole grains, and those that substitute butter with various low-calorie remedies, but I am still not convinced. I do not want my cookie to try and be something it isn't: a cookie, by definition, cannot--nay SHOULD not--be good for you. That's half the fun of eating one, right?
Right. But, having said that, there are indeed a few recipes in The Book that happen to be ever so slightly more healthful than the others. Generally speaking, cookies that are crumbly and sandy have more butter in them than others do because in order to achieve this crumbly texture, butter is needed to break up the glucose strands in the flour, thereby giving the cookies the distinctly brittle quality (think Classic Shortbread...). Meringues, on the other hand, have no butter whatsoever, and instead rely heavily on egg whites. And now we come to my cookie du jour: the Amaretti Crisps I made, again with my father, were completely devoid of butter, and perhaps on the "lighter" side of the cookie-nutrition spectrum.
The fat in these cookies comes entirely from the excessively huge amount of toasted almonds in them, which are ground up with confectioners' sugar. Then you add a bit of almond extract (not Amaretto, in fact, which is much too mild in almond flavor) and then fold in only 2 egg whites. This is not when you are supposed to drop the glass bowl that you had the almond mixture in on top of the fluffy egg whites and squash them to oblivion. That is not advisable.
And they are just too too easy to play with! So here's to fun, "healthy" cookies--and to playing with your food.
- 1 3/4 cups sliced almonds (about 5 1/2 ounces)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast in oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.
- Combine almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into almond mixture; fold in almond extract.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer almond mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe twenty 2-inch rings onto prepared sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Baking Difficultly: 4/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 2/5
Tastiness: 4/5 (Really almond-y!)
Is it worth it?: Yes, it is. But it uses a helluva lot of almonds for only 20 cookies.
Drink: English Breakfast tea with milk
Song: Instant Party (Circles) -- The Who