Baby boy is home! And he’s a cookie monster. I’ve been baking and cooking pretty much nonstop this past month and most of it has been batch after batch after double batches of cookies, which is not such a bad thing as it gives me a chance to experiment; my guinea pigs being the toughest critics ever…kids; in this case baby boy and his friends.
School holidays here began last week and since then there has been a constant flow of kids from one home to another, including ours and when I see so much miniature traffic, I know it’s time to fasten my seat belt and stock up big time on popcorn, juice and cookies.
So yeah, that’s what has been happening this past week or so, the microwave is constantly churning out popcorn, the oven, cookies and even though I act like I’m going crazy, secretly I’m totally loving all the activity; the early morning “come down to play” phone calls, the later in the morning “can you come over/ can I come over” phone calls, the heartfelt “oh maaaan’s” for a missed goal on the play station, going for the ‘angry bird type movies’ with jumbo popcorn in hand and my favourite part- eavesdropping on their conversations… yes I’m that kind of mom.
So these cookies, you have to try it, probably one of the simplest recipes I’ve come across, mix together butter and sugar, add flour and stir in the fruits and nuts, chill the dough, slice and bake- that’s it, seriously! I added dried cherries, I love the sweet- sour taste and cherries and chocolate are made for each other so in went some chocolate chips and then to add to the nutty taste from the almond flour, I also added some chopped almonds. If you can’t find dried cherries, you can use cranberries instead, in fact you can use whatever combination of fruits and/or nuts you like, also most of us don’t have almond flour just lying around, all you have to do is add whole almonds in a mixer/food processor and pulse till almonds are ground and no pieces remain, make sure you don’t run the food processor too long or you’ll end up with almond butter, which is pretty good too but not what we want here. These are the slice and bake kind of cookies so you will need to chill the dough for an hour or so before baking, if the dough is frozen solid, wait for it to soften a little so you can cut easily. The cookies will spread a little while baking so leave a little space between each cookie. This dough can be frozen and kept for a couple of months so make a double or even triple batch and stash it in a freezer, cookie cravings taken care of. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart.
- All purpose flour/ maida- 1 cup
- Powdered (confectioners) sugar- ½ cup
- Unsalted Butter- 120 grams (softened)
- Almond flour/almond meal (ground almonds)- ¼ cup
- Vanilla extract- ½ tsp
- Salt- ¼ tsp
- Dried cherries- 1/3- ½ cup (chopped)
- Chocolate chips- ¼ cup
- Almonds- 6-8 pieces (chopped/sliced)
- Put room temperature butter and sugar in a bowl in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a handheld mixer. In another bowl combine the flour, almond flour and salt.
- Beat the butter and sugar till smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture and mix just until everything is combined and a dough forms, add the cherries, chocolate chips and almonds and stir (using a spoon/spatula) to combine.
- Place the dough on a long sheet of plastic wrap/cling wrap and form it into a ‘log’ shape, about 2-3 inches wide. Place the wrapped log of dough in the freezer until firm (about one hour).
- Preheat oven to 170C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper/ baking paper. Remove dough from the freezer (wait for it to soften if it’s frozen solid). Cut ¼ inch slices from the dough, place on the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 1 inch between each cookie. Bake till the cookies start to turn golden from the edges, about 20 minutes. After 5 minutes transfer the cookies from the baking sheet to a rack to cool completely.
*You can make your own almond flour- add whole almonds in a mixer/food processor and pulse till almonds are ground and no pieces remain, make sure you don’t run the food processor too long or you’ll end up with almond butter.
*Use any combination of dried fruits and nuts. Cranberries can be used instead of cherries.
*The cookie dough can be kept frozen for 2-3 months. Let it soften and slice and bake as you would normally do.