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Spicy Chocolate Almond Cookies

Posted Dec 19 2012 12:00am
While it is true year-round, I find that baking becomes more than just the act of measuring out some flour or butter, whisking egg whites or adding sugar.  It's a way for me to show how much I care, how grateful I am for those who have touched my life.

After spotting these cookies last year, they were at the top of my baking list this year.  I changed up the recipe a bit and added just enough heat to make each bite interesting.  I hope everyone that received these loved these as much as I did, and I suspect this will be the first batch of many!

Spicy Chocolate Almond Cookies
adapted from Saveur
yield: 5-6 dozen

The spice level of your cookie depends on the chocolate you use.  Mine was chipotle cinnamon , and there was some definite heat in the finish (Taza has similar flavors ).  Feel free to adjust according to your tastes- try cinnamon or orange flavored dark chocolate for a less spicy cookie.

8oz almond meal (finely ground almonds)
1 1/2c evaporated cane juice
6oz spicy semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (*see headnote)
1 1/2t ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1/2t ground cloves
2t lg egg whites, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a food processor, add almond meal, sugar and chocolate.  Pulse until chocolate is finely ground and well distributed.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to make a thick dough.  Wrap dough tightly and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

When you're ready to make the cookies, take half of the dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper.  Transfer the remaining dough back to the fridge while you roll out the first half.  Roll out the dough to ~1/8" thickness.  Using cookie cutters, cut dough to your desired shape (the size will determine how many cookies you get).  If the dough is too sticky, pop it into the freezer (still in between parchment) for 10-15min and then try cutting again.  I found the warmer my hands got, the tougher the dough was to work with, so keep that in mind when handling the dough.  Transfer cut cookies to parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them 1" apart.  Re-roll scraps and repeat, then start with the second half of the dough from the fridge.

Let the dough dry for 3 hours.  (note:  I've seen some recipes that forgo this step, so I'm not sure it's completely necessary)

Preheat the oven to 300deg.  Bake until slightly puffed, 12-15min.  Let cool completely on cookie sheets.  Store in an airtight container.

Have you been doing any holiday baking??  If so, what have you been making?
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