Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Almond Horns

Whenever I'm in New York City, I make it a priority to stop at a bakery and get an Almond Horn. They are the MOST amazing cookie: chewy texture with crunch from almonds, delicious and intense almond flavor, and a little bit of chocolate to sweeten the ends. The ones at the NYC bakeries are HUGE, and perfect for sharing. 

So, when I saw that Smitten Kitchen (the ultimate New York City food blogger!) had a recipe for almond horns, I was ECSTATIC. Now I could make these (and eat these, let's be honest about what is the most important part!) myself, without going to New York. I'm always up for an excuse to go to New York, but it's not convenient to just fly across the country for a cookie. I wish it were, alas. 

Almond Horns use almond paste to get their intense flavor: I found this in the baking aisle at a large grocery store. It is not inexpensive. But it's worth it to make a batch of these cookies, especially at Christmastime. And since I wanted to get as many cookies as possible out of that precious log of almond paste, I did not make them NYC sized. These are cookies that are just fine to eat by yourself.

This cookie dough is not super easy to work with: you'll think you've forgotten a lot of flour, or something, cause it's soft and slippery. But just go with it. Have water and a towel nearby cause you'll need to wet and dry your hands in between each cookie. Don't get discouraged: the end result will be worth it! And after they're baked, the fun part is dipping in chocolate and decorating with sprinkles. And the REALLY fun part is eating them... 

Almond Horns

7 ounces almond paste

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg white

Two pinches sea salt

1 1/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched 

6 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chips (about 1 cup)

Colored sprinkles

Cut almond paste into small pieces and put it in the bowl of your electric mixer. Add sugar and beat, until almond paste cannot be broken up any further, approximately 3 to 5 minutes at a medium-high speed. Add egg white and salt and beat until uniform and creamy. Place sliced almonds in a wide-shallow bowl or plate. Have another bowl with water to get your hands wet.

Wet hands and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough (can use a measuring spoon, a little overfilled is fine) into your palms. It’s going to be very soft and you’re going to think something has gone very wrong; it it has not. Just keep your hands wet and roll it into a 4-ish inch log and drop it into the bowl of almonds. Wipe your hands dry on a towel (or the almonds stick to your hands, pulling them off the cookie) and roll log through it. Again, it’s quite soft and will seem weird at first but do you best and transfer the soft almond-covered log to cookie sheet lined with parchment, and arc it into a horn shape. Press any loose almonds back on. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake cookies at 350 for 15 minutes, or until almonds on cookies are gently toasted and horns are puffed. Let cool completely.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl and dip ends of cookies into it, then return to parchment-lined tray to set. Add sprinkles.

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