Thursday, August 1, 2013

Almond Cloud Cookies from Lucy Burdette



LUCY BURDETTE: I'm so happy when the farmer's market opens up on our town green each spring. And I know what you're thinking--greens and tomatoes and sheep's feta and grass-fed beef. That's all there and it's great, but there's also a booth with homemade chicken pot pies plus regular pies and cookies. Fortunately or unfortunately, I've gotten addicted to their Almond Cloud Cookies. I didn't start buying these because they have no fat or gluten in them, I bought them because they looked irresistible, all snuggled into their beds of confectioner's sugar.

This week, with the draft of my fourth Key West mystery, MURDER WITH GANACHE, delivered to the publisher (yay!), I decided to see if I could produce something similar. There are many recipes that come up if you Google almond cloud cookies, most of them based on a King Arthur bakery recipe. There are some minor deviations--almond oil added, a vanilla bean scraped into the batter, an orange, zested. Here's how I made them. 


My taste-tester said: WOW!


Almond Cloud Cookies

10 oz almond paste (this comes in a block--I found it in the cheese specialty department of my local grocery store)

1 cup sugar

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 vanilla bean (or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)

confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the extracts or the extract plus the seeds from the vanilla bean. (I've never tried a vanilla bean before--it's expensive and a little strange. I'm not sure whether the taste makes a huge difference--I'd have to make and sample a second version. Sigh.)

Add the almond paste to the sugar and mix until the ingredients are crumbly. Many of the recipes suggested making the cookies in a stand mixer, which I don't own. (This I'm going to rectify, along with learning to use my camera so my photos are better!) 


But meanwhile, I broke the paste up using a pastry cutter and then attacked it with my electric mixer.







Whip the egg whites until frothy, and add them slowly to the sugar etc, mixing until a smooth paste is formed. 
 










Scoop the dough onto the prepared pans about a tablespoon at a time. 


You should end up with about 20 cookies laid out on two pans. Sprinkle the cookies heavily with confectioners sugar, and use your fingers to make indentations on the top of each.

Bake 20-25 minutes until tops begin to turn golden. (Mine took about 22.) They are fabulous warm--chewy and sweet--and they freeze well.








The Key West food critic mysteries can be found wherever books are sold! Follow Lucy on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook.



25 comments:

  1. This is my all time favorite kind of cookie. And last time I was at the bargain store they happened to have almond paste. Whipping out the pastry cutter and egg beater... Thanks, Lucy!

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  2. Almond cloud cookies! My mouth is watering. Thanks for another terrific recipe, Lucy! And congrats on finishing your draft. Hope you can play a bit for the rest of the week.

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    1. I'm playing a little--sometimes I forget what that's like:)

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  3. Looks yummy! I love anything almond flavored. and I love the addition of your signature!

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    1. Peg, me too on the almond. I think that signature is actually from Lucille Ball but I decided we could share:)

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  4. Oh heavens, these look fabulous. Almond paste just happens to be one of my favorite food groups. As soon as I drop a few more pounds, I'm going to attempt this recipe. Thanks, Lucy! I loved Topped Chef!

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    1. I didn't realize it was an entire food group, but that makes sense Linda! thank you so much for reading and for the kind words:)

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  5. These sound divine. I've always been tempted by the King Arthur version, but haven't gotten around to making them. Hm, maybe I need to do a baking comparison! But who (besides me) will eat all those cookies?

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  6. Oh gosh, that looks good. Love anything almond flavored!

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  7. Ooooh! These remind me of amaretti (Italian almond macaroons), which I love!!! Thanks for sharing your fave recipe and happy writerly congrats on finishing the draft of your next Topped Chef mystery, huzzah! ~ Cleo

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    1. Thanks Cleo, a couple of my very Italian friends said the same thing--reminded them of old Italian recipes....

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  8. It's hard to imagine cookies without flour. Someone told me about a pastry dough without flour yesterday that I have to try, too. Your cookies look, well, good enough to eat! Yum! They're beautiful!

    ~Krista

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    1. Thanks Krista, I couldn't believe it either when I starting looking for a recipe!

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  9. When I read the word “almond,” my eyes lit up. Almond anything is just fabulous. I wish I could reach out and take one of these about now. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Yummy!

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    1. You're welcome Connie! I'll have one with you--maybe with a cup of Cleo's coffee?

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  10. I love almond flavored things, cookies and clouds -- I can't wait to try these!

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  11. Yummy! I made those coconut clouds a few weeks ago and still can't get them out my mind. I'm sure these are as delectable.

    Daryl / Avery

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  12. Fun name for these cookies.
    I'm the cookie tester in our family so I want to tell our baker (college daughter who is working here in a library this summer!) about them. They look & sound like they could be the Next New Thing, Lucy. And, I vote ditto on the wow! signature

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    1. That would be fun Jan--the Next New Thing! Hope they turn out well for you:)

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  13. Printing out and can't wait to find some almond paste to try ti.

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