Almond Shortbread Cookies

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We first discovered these cookies a few years ago. Rich had signed up for an email Twelve Days of Cookies list from The Food Network. We got some delicious sounding recipes, but I think the almond shortbreads were the only ones we actually made. And of course, we changed the directions right from the beginning. After we made them the first time, we also doubled the original amount of almond extract to heighten the flavor. They are buttery and rich like shortbread should be, with a little extra something from the almonds.

The original recipe called for pressing the whole batch of dough into a pan and then cutting the finished cookie into wedges. Since we mail a lot of our Christmas cookies to relatives in other states, long, fragile wedges weren’t going to cut it. One of us had the brilliant idea to press the dough into muffin cups. We tried both the standard size, and minis and we decided the minis were cuter (and sturdier for mailing). We have never made them as a big cookie, so let me know how you like them if you try them that way.

We usually only make these at Christmas time and we look forward to them all year. I’m not sure why we only make them at Christmas. Part of it is we are so tired of cookies by the time New Year’s rolls around that we make anything but cookies until about St. Patrick’s Day. They also have that mystique around them that only seasonal treats have. But I think we need to break out the almond shortbreads more often – and the Russian teacakes, the gingersnaps and the chocolate doodles…  Can you tell I’m not tired of cookies yet?

Download or print the recipe.

Almond Shortbread Cookies
Adapted by The Cook’s Life
From The Food Network
Makes 60 cookies

½ cup whole raw almonds
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
14 tablespoons butter (1¾ sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour

Special equipment: mini muffin pans or regular muffin pans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. No need to grease the pans – the dough has enough butter in it to make greasing unnecessary.

Pulse the almonds and 2/3 cup sugar in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt and pulse until combined. Add flour and pulse until a soft dough forms.

Divide dough among mini or regular muffin cups, using about 2 measuring teaspoons of dough per cup. You can also use a small (size 100) cookie scoop.

Flatten each cookie with your finger – dampen your finger with water if the dough sticks. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on size. The regular muffin tins will take less time since the dough is thinner. When done the cookies will be golden brown on the edges and bottoms, and be just starting to color on the tops.

Cool cookies about 5 minutes for them to firm up before removing them from the pans. Cool to room temperature on racks. These taste best at room temperature, not warm.

Store in a tightly sealed container for about a week, or freeze for longer storage.

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9 thoughts on “Almond Shortbread Cookies

  1. Oh sounds wonderful & I would agree with increasing the almond. I lucked out at Wegman’s this week & was able to score some of their almond croissants hot out of the oven. Seems as if every time I go there, they’re snapped up.

      • Oooh, thanks for calling the doubling to my attention. Love my almond flavoring but don’t want to overdo it. No Wegman’s? They were mostly in NY & just got into this area but what a market!!!!! First, their employees are trained for months before any new store opening. They have over 3,000 different cheese & you can sample any one of them – yes, even the one that goes for $85/lb. The bakery is incredible & the meat department will get just about anything you can think of – probably wild boar although I haven’t asked them yet. As you walk in, they have little food stations where you can eat before overfilling your basket – everything from pizza to sushi to salad bars, anything you could possibly think of. This weekend they had a wine tasting where you could sample up to 12 different wines (free) & free cheese & prosciutto for nibbling. At any point during shopping you might run into someone who’s offering you something to taste & everyone’s so helpful. The minute you start looking around as if you can’t find something, an employee comes up to ask you if they can help. Last time I figured, what the heck & said “do you know where my husband is?” Believe it or not, she didn’t even blink but offered to go up front to have him paged. I’m telling you Sarah, the grand opening had people from out of state in campers waiting for this to open. Unfortunately grocery store chains are notorious for keeping competition out & this is one that the big names don’t want to see come into town.

        • Diane, Wegman’s sounds wonderful! I’ll make a point to check it out if I am ever near one.

          I had a suspicion on the almond extract! I think any more would be too strong – didn’t want you to possibly ruin an entire batch! 🙂

  2. Hi Sarah…this is Mary’s friend Barbie….I was wondering do u grease the muffin tins?

    I enjoy your writing and the recipes. You will be in warm, sunny Florida soon. I know 2 grandparents who are very excited to have Calvin……You and hubby, too ha ha

    • Barbie, glad to see you posting! Thanks for the compliments! I am having such fun doing the blog.

      The muffin tins are ungreased. The dough has plenty of butter so the cookies do not stick. In fact, you can sometimes hear them sizzling in their own butter as they bake.

      We are excited about the trip too! And I know Rich and I are second fiddle to Calvin. 🙂

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