I had a yearning for a chewy , almond paste cookie with a crisp crust enrobed in almonds and an amazing dense chewy almond paste center when bitten into . In all my travels to italy , France and Morocco , where almonds are included in most speciality cookies , I have stopped at bakeries and indulged . The most exqusite almond paste cookies are , however , from a gorgeous cafe in Malta , with hand painted frescos on the celings and food and especially a variety of almond cookies to swoon over . This cookie from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and terry Hope Romero come close to perfect , the only change I made was to roll them in roasted slivered blanched almonds prior to baking instead of pine nuts as I really prefer almonds .
Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Makes 2 dozen cookies
Photograph by Rahul Mahtani
7 oz almond paste , sliced into 1 inch cubes
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine , softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup pine nuts ( I used 6 oz toasted slivered blanched almonds )
2 to 3 Tbs almond milk for dipping
Preheat oven to 325*F . line 2 medium size sheets with parchment paper.
Pulse almond paste , salt , baking powder , and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a food processor until mixture is crumbly , about 1 minute.
In a large bowl , cream together the margarine and remaining 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy , about 2 minutes . Add almond paste mixture and almond extract and beat until fluffy. Sift in the flour and beat until a slightly crumbly yet soft dough forms .
Pour the pine nuts (or almonds ) into a shallow bowl and pour 2 Tbs of almond milk into a small saucer . For each cookie scoop 1 tbs of dough and roll it in your palmsto form into a ball . Dip one end of the ball in the almond milk and press this moistened end into pine nuts ( I rolled the whole ball into the almonds ) . If necessary , use your fingers to press the nuts into the dough . Place the balls , pine nut side up on a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart . Bake for 14 minutes until cookies have puffed and spread a little and the nuts have just slightly toasted .
Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to firm up before carefully transferring them to wire racks . Store in an airtight covered container .