I have had difficulty with cookie press dough in the past. The consistency of this dough was absolutely perfect and easy to punch through the press. So, of course, the new problem was that half of my little Christmas tree cookies had a practically unrecognizable shape! I opted to make these little “wreaths”- and had absolutely no issues with the shape. :) This recipe was adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. According to the author, the cornstarch makes the cookies more delicate and easier to push through the cookie press.
These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie this year; they reminded him of “fresh” Danish butter cookies. Buttery with a hint of almond. Lovely!
- 44 g (1/2 cup minus 1 T/1.5 oz) blanched sliced almonds
- 257 g (9.1 oz/2 cups plus 2 T) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 30 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) cornstarch
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- 150 g (5.3 oz/3/4 cup) superfine sugar
- 2 sticks (16 T/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- sugar sprinkles for decorating, optional
- Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (convection) for 30 minutes or longer before baking.
- Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over browning. Cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
- In a food processor, process the almonds until fairly fine. (They have to be able to squeeze through the cookie press!)
- Whisk the almonds into the flour mixture.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat for 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until blended. Do not over mix.
- Scrape the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the outside of the plastic wrap to knead together the dough until it is completely even and soft enough to pipe smoothly.
- Form sections of the dough into a log and put into the tube of a cookie press. (Cover remaining dough.)
- Using the press, place cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets 1-inch apart.
- Decorate with sugar sprinkles, if using.
- Bake cookies for 6 to 7 minutes (convection) or up to 10 to 12 minutes in a standard oven, or until pale gold.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Note: Cookies can be stored airtight at room temperature for 1 month; refrigerated or frozen for 6 months.
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