Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Oatmeal Almond Jammies
One of the many great things about the Carole Walter's book Great Cookies is that she gives characteristics for each cookie. For instance, these jam thumbprint cookies were listed as Versatile, Long shelf life and Travel well. The notations long shelf life and travel well are particularly important to me since I planned to mail them all the way across the country. Similar notations are listed for every cookie in the book, which frequently helps me decide which cookies would be the best choice for shipping.
If you don't like almonds though, don't bother. These have almond paste and almond extract in the dough itself and are then rolled in almonds for an extra bit of flavor and crunch. I liked them, but I like almonds so that's no surprise. The cookies are soft with a nice chewy texture from the oatmeal and a crunch from the bits of almond. We used blackberry jam in most of ours, but of course any kind of jam would probably do.
Most cookies are kind of a pain to make because you have to hang around the kitchen waiting to rotate cookie sheets and usually don't have enough time between buzzers to really do much else -- but these are even worse than your average cookies. You scoop the dough and portion it on the cookie sheets. Then poke holes in the centers and bake for 6 minutes before rotating cookie sheets. Bake for another 6-8 minutes, pull the cookies out, re-poke the holes and put some jam in each hole. After that, bake another 4 minutes, rotate the pans once again, and bake for another 6-8 minutes until the cookies are done.
It's not that any of it's hard, but you have to be committed to hanging around the kitchen and can't get involved in much else while you're fooling around with the cookies.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 oz almond paste, shredded (use a grater)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sliced unblanched almonds, toasted
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten with 2 tsps water
1/2 cup blackberry preserves
Place the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process for 15 seconds. Pulse four times, then process for another 25 seconds. The mixture will be cakey in texture.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until smooth and lightened in color. Add the almond paste and mix until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar in three additions, scraping down the after the final addition. Add the egg, egg yolks, and extracts and mis until well blended, scraping the side of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until blended after each addition. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 to 45 minutes, until firm enough to handle.
Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
Place the almonds in a large shallow dish, such as a pie plate, then break them up coarsely with your fingers.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the egg whites, then roll in the crumbled nuts to coat. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke an indentation in the center of each. (if dough sticks, dip the end of the spoon in flour.)
Bake for 12-14 minutes, remove from the oven and re-press each indentation. Fill each with a scant 1/2 tsp of jam and return to oven. (don't overfill)
Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Toward the end of the baking time, rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back. Remove from the oven and let stand 2 or 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.