The spirit of hospitality that comes with the Christmas season is truly a thing of beauty. Everyone seems inspired to make an extra effort to offer others something out of the ordinary. Twinkling lights greet us from the darkness, festive decorations dress homes and offices, and holiday treats are thoughtfully prepared to tempt us at every turn.
Many recipes for holiday cookies include a few extra steps that make them special. Some need time to chill the dough. Others need to be rolled and cut or shaped. Many call for added decorations and require waiting between steps. All of these extra steps have value but they can also add up to lots of time and extra effort.
Of course cookies don’t have to take lots of extra work to be special. These Scandanavian Almond Cookies, for example, have a neatly trimmed shape and are finished with icing and sliced almonds. Still they are relatively easy to prepare. Only four pieces of dough need to be roughly shaped. Nuts are scattered over each before baking. While the cookies are still warm they are cut and once cooled they are drizzled with icing while they are still nestled neatly together. Then, given a little time to set, they are ready to separate and share.
Scandanavian Almond Cookies
from my Cookie Swap files
1¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
milk (3-4 teaspoons)
Makes about 4 dozen.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and ½ teaspoon almond extract, beating until well combined. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing just until combined.
Divide the dough into four equal parts. Form each into a 12-inch log. Place 2 logs 4 to 5 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each log until 3 inches wide. Repeat with remaining portions of dough.
Brush the dough with milk. Scatter the almonds evenly over the tops.
Bake at 325 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges begin to lightly brown.
Remove from oven. While still warm, cut each section crosswise into 1-inch strips, straight or on the diagonal. (A pizza cutter works well for this step.)
Cool cookies on a wire rack.
To make the Almond Icing:
Stir together the powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon almond extract and enough milk (approximately 3-4 teaspoons) to make icing with a drizzling consistency.
Drizzle icing randomly over the cool cookies. Allow to set before storing.