Saturday, August 7, 2010

[Cookies 085] Almond Horns

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Good day, folks. Long time no see. I went on a bit of a vacation, if you can call sleeping in a tent for 5 consecutive nights without any showers or toilets or fresh coffee (God Forbid!!) a vacation. I was backpacking in the Sequoias for a week, trekking upwards of 20 miles in between the spindly pines and fields of wildflowers. Like last year! It was beautiful, duhhhhhhh, and I loved it. Extremely tiring and hard, hard work, but how else am I supposed to work off all the cookies I've been eating this summer?

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So now I'm back in the comfort of my own home, equipped with all the "necessities" that supposedly I can't live without: internet, cars, TV, whatever. Hmph. And here I am updating my blog--how 21st century of me. Well, whatever, enough musings on modernity, I'll save it for another day. Maybe for the day when I finally buy a 1950s camping trailer and drive across the United States; or maybe for the day when I finally move into an old run-down Victorian estate out in the cornfields of Nebraska or the grasslands of Montana. Oh, yes, that will be the life.

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Until then, I'm here. And in only 1 weeks time, I'll be.....IN GHANA! I'm studying abroad for 4 months in Accra! Ahhh!!! I make no promises about what the cooking situation will be once I'm there--I will have a kitchen, but I don't know what ingredients I'll be able to get (I'm hoping I'll be able to get some KICKASS chocolate though!). Yep, it's a big question mark over my cookie career, but I'll try my best.

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But, hey, I haven't left yet. So I shall update on these last few recipes I've made before I head on out. Today: Almond Horns. Cute, right? And even though they sound a little on the simple side, they are really really delicious. Full of almond flavor, and though they are crunchy like shortbread, they don't taste as buttery. They aren't overly sweet either, so the sprinkling of powdered sugar on top of them really adds a nice touch. The cookie itself has a kind of toasted flavor, rich and nutty, and the sugar on top is just enough to heighten the slight saltiness of the cookie. Really, quite nice!

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As for the ease of the recipe, you shouldn't have any problems making them. The recipe calls for 1 cup of almonds which you essentially grind up into almond meal, but I used my own pre-made almond meal that I had bought for some other recipes and it worked just find. However, 1 cup of almonds is not the same as 1 cup of almond meal (duh), so I added about 1/2 cup of almond meal at first, and then added a little more until the dough formed a workable shape. You're going to be shaping the dough into horns, so you don't want it too wet and sticky, but it should be able to hold it's shape and not be too dry either. Just use your best judgement, or follow the recipe and make your own almond meal--it's probably better anyways.

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So if you're looking for a recipe that's perhaps more for your friends with rather sophisticated palates that can appreciate subtle flavorings (ah, yes, quite fancy and refined I dare say), then I'd absolutely suggest this cookie. Cute looking, has a nice warm and nutty flavor, and great with tea or coffee. I could eat them for a long time. Maybe for the entire plane ride to Ghana. Or not...even I have my limits.

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Until later this week, my summery friends...

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P.S. Have any of you been to Ghana? Are any of you from Ghana? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Advice? Things to see/do/eat? Anything! Everything! Tell me, tell me, I'm so excited!! Send me an email, or comment on this entry, whichever's your fancy.

Almond Horns
Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, toasted and finely ground in a food processor

  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and extracts. Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture and almonds until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a 4-inch log; gently shape into a horseshoe. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment.
  • Bake cookies (rotating sheets halfway through) until pale golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Transfer to waxed paper. Sift sugar over cookies. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature 2 to 3 days.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 2/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 5/5
    Tastiness: 4/5
    Attractiveness: 4/5
    Is it worth it?: Yes yes! Nothing that exciting or snazzy, but more of a cookie you can bring home to your parents. Is that weird? Did I totally mess up that figure of speech?

    {Pairings}
    Drink: A subtle tea, maybe an English Breakfast with milk.
    Song: Horn -- Nick Drake (Not only does the title match, but the music pairs well with the cookie. I am a big nerd.)
    Activity: These would be good at a craft party! Don't ask why, I just think they would. Knitting party, yeah? They don't get chocolate all over your fingers and are great to munch on. Yes. Yes, I paired this one well, pat on the back.

    10 comments:

    Snooky doodle said...

    these look nice and yummy

    Anne said...

    YOU FORGOT YOUR CHOCOLATE LADY SANDWICHES OR WHATEVER THEY"RE CALLED! UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP-DAAAAAAAATE.


    ...


    In other news, let's get together and bake some cookies for the first time since ever.

    Sara said...

    I went to Ghana for a couple of weeks back at Christmas/New Year's in 2003. The Makola Market in the city is the largest open-air market in Africa, I believe, and it is well worth a visit (camera in hand!). You can find some spectacular batiks in the city markets, too.

    Also, if you are interested in history, not too far from the city is the Cape Coast Castle - formerly a British outpost, and the main slave-trading post in West Africa. You can take a sobering tour through a major exchange point for so many lives once upon a time...

    Enjoy Ghana!

    Patricia Scarpin said...

    Wow, Ghana! that's unusual! I hope you have loads of fun there, sweetie! We'll miss you around here!
    xx

    ajcabuang04 said...

    These look delicious! Reminds me of those mexican wedding cookies. YUM!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

    Jessica said...

    Love these delicious treats! Almond is my absolute favorite flavor. I'll bet these would be tasty drizzled in chocolate and/or caramel too. Yummy!

    jessyburke88@gmail.com

    blitherypoop said...

    I don't mean this in a rude way... they look really tasty... but... my instant thought was "toilet seats". *giggle*

    Ciao Chow Linda said...

    I just found your blog and you're leaving for Ghana? boo hoo. Maybe you can continue to blog about cookies or anything else there. These look particularly enticing.

    Helen said...

    Ghana! What am I going to do when I need some cookie porn? Have the best time and be safe!

    p.s. Craft parties are awesome. I'm going to have a card making party with my friends soon.

    OLGUIS said...

    looks so yummy this cookies.
    Regards
    Olga.