Wow... isn't this a beautiful cookie? And what's really great is that it's also a great-tasting cookie; and how could it not be? Toasted almonds and sweet raspberry jam... heaven! Since there was virtually no baking in my kitchen this past holiday season, I have been making up for lost time. I found this recipe in a recent Bon Appetit magazine and thought it looked too good to wait until the next Christmas season to mix up and bake.
As you can see, I heavily coated my almond batter "fingers" with the sliced nuts. You can certainly go lighter in your coverage, but if you like almonds... go for it!
Substitute another flavor of fruit jam if you so desire. Apricot would be delicious, too!
These cookies are crisp to begin with, but after a day or two they become chewy and unbelievably good!
Almond and Raspberry Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Bon Appetit | December 2010
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies
• 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds *
• 1 7-ounce tube almond paste, cut or broken into pieces
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
• Raspberry jam (seedless, or not)
1. Position 1 rack in the top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350˚F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Place almonds in center of a third (unlined) rimmed baking sheet, forming a 1/4-inch-thick layer.
2. Finely grind almond paste, 1 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor. Add egg whites; process until well blended. Transfer dough to a large resealable plastic bag. Press dough down into 1 corner of bag, and using scissors, snip off opposite corner, leaving 1/2-inch opening. Working in batches, squeeze dough from bag in 2 1/2-inch strips atop almonds on sheet. Sprinkle some of the loose almonds over the strips; carefully roll strips in almonds to coat lightly. Carefully transfer cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing apart.
3. Bake cookies until light golden brown, reversing position of sheets halfway through baking, about 12 minutes. Let cookies stand on sheets 5 minutes; transfer to rack. Sift powdered sugar over cookies.
4. The recipe calls for simmering jam in a heavy, small saucepan over medium heat until jam is bubbling and thick, about 30 seconds, and the cooling. I totally skipped this step. It's your call.
5. Spread jam over bottom of 1 cookie. Top with second cookie, bottom side down. Transfer cookie sandwich to plate. Repeat with remaining cookies and jam. Can be made 3 weeks ahead. Store airtight in freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.
* I used quite a lot more sliced almonds than called for in the recipe (maybe 3 cups), which calls for the strips of dough to be covered with and rolled in. Mine were pretty heavily coated, but I like it that way!