Tuesday, July 21, 2009

[Cookie 028] Amaretti Crisps

Amaretti Crisps, Half Eaten

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?

Amaretti Crisps

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.

Toasted Almonds for Amaretti Crisps

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.

Almond/Sugar PowderEgg Whites
O, Amaretti Crisps!

Aside from that little fumble of mine, the cookies came out very delicious, just not as airy as I had expected. Piping the dough into Os is a little tedious at times, but the recipe as a whole is very quick and easy. One issue I ran into was the baking time: my cookies were golden and hard in almost as little as half the time suggested (15 minutes, or so). So, keep an eye on these babies! If you pull them out of the oven in time, you should have some cute little cookies that look like either oversized cheerios, onion rings, or both.

Play with yo foodz, pt II
Play with yo foodz

And they are just too too easy to play with! So here's to fun, "healthy" cookies--and to playing with your food.

Amaretti Crisps

Amaretti Crisps
Makes 20

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
****

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 4/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 2/5
Tastiness: 4/5 (Really almond-y!)
Attractiveness: 4/5
Is it worth it?: Yes, it is. But it uses a helluva lot of almonds for only 20 cookies.

{Pairings}
Drink: English Breakfast tea with milk
Song: Instant Party (Circles) -- The Who
Activity: Hula-hooping

13 comments:

Sara said...

The cookies look yummy. I love your blog so much that I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award
check it out at http://svoortmeyer.blogspot.com

Linda B. said...

These look stupendous!!! We just made the snickerdoodles- they were great!

Kim said...

These cookies are so cute! The shape is so fun. I enjoy you blog so much that I also have an award for you. You can copy and paste it from my post today,http://mykentuckyhome-kim.blogspot.com/

I think it is so great that your Dad bakes with you. My mom, my daughter and I have a cookbook where we all write what we think of the recipes. We sign and date it and sometimes comment on the fun we had. Something like that is a great keepsake for later.

Barbara E said...

I am so glad these are good for you. Think I'll go downstairs right now for a healthy, late-night snack.

jfklds said...

how did you get that cute? could you maybe explain that in your next blog post? or maybe your mother could explain? It's mind-boggling.... how cute you are.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was thinking about that shape - that round O with all it's curves. All its hundreds upon millions of curves. All the tiny little pieces that make a curve. And how wonderful that is - how wonderful that you could make that into a cookie. The curve of the C and the U in the word curve, and the curve of the C and the O and the O in the word cookie. Combined, they spell CUCOO or perhaps COCOU. As we eat the curves, our inner curves are stimulated. The curve of my intestine. The fat I absorb from the cookie in fact enriches my exterior curves. And how when you think about it, there's really nothing that doesn't have a curve. Obama, for instance. This masterfully executed bonbon is in fact a bold political statement.

jfklds said...

shit, I love the [Pairings] section

Miakoda said...

Wonderful crispy cookies! I like the almonds in them and yes, here's to playing with food!

Julie said...

They look just wonderful! I love the shape too :)

Lizzie said...

claire- funny, i was just thinking how much i hated the [Pairings] section and that i should nix it. i'll keep it for you, luvly.

anonymous- you got my number. i'm mailing obama these cookies tonight--i made them organic just for michelle sasha and malia.

miakoda- here here!

julie- thanks!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are adorable! One has got to love cookies that can be both a snack and jewelry. :D

Ayesha said...

hi. I just finished cleaning up the kitchen. so I tried these cookies and they were a bit of a disaster. as soon as I piped em into circles they started spreading and spreading and spreading.....i ended up with flat disks :(.....im still gonna eat em....wht happend??!?!.....only thing i can think of is that my almonds were short by 20grams....and i know that my egg whites were stiff enough because I tunrned the bowl upside down......AND im having trouble getting them off the baking paper....so have left em covered till tommoro morning.....

Ayesha :(

Ayesha said...

hi. I just finished cleaning up the kitchen. so I tried these cookies and they were a bit of a disaster. as soon as I piped em into circles they started spreading and spreading and spreading.....i ended up with flat disks :(.....im still gonna eat em....wht happend??!?!.....only thing i can think of is that my almonds were short by 20grams....and i know that my egg whites were stiff enough because I tunrned the bowl upside down......AND im having trouble getting them off the baking paper....so have left em covered till tommoro morning.....

Ayesha :(