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Christmas Cookie Recipes Using Almond Extract
I make a number of different types of cookies at Christmas time, but these two are definite favourites (and use almond extract). The first recipe is for thumbprint cookies and the second is an alternate way to make sugar cookies.
These cookies are my sister's favourite of all Christmas cookies, so I get a request for them every year. If you've not had thumbprint cookies before, they are basically a shortbread-type cookie, that is rolled in nuts and then filled with jam in the centre. Their name comes from the fact that you use your thumb to make the dip in the middle of the cookie where you put the jam.
Note - if you are going to be keeping your cookies for more than a few days, you may want to fill them with jam after they have been baked. The jam softens the cookies over time, so they do not keep that well once they have jam in them.
Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, finely chopped (I prefer walnuts as they cut the sweetness of the cookie and the jam.)
- 1/2 cup jam (You can use strawberry, raspberry, apricot, whatever you like. I use SaraBeth's plum cherry as it's my favourite one.)
- Preheat oven to 350oF and grease baking sheet.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and beat just until combined. If the dough is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the chopped nuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.
- Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the nuts.
- Place on the prepared baking sheet spacing them about an inch apart.
- Using your thumb, or the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the centre of each cookie and fill with about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until cookies are set and the nuts have nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Almond Sugar Cookies
This recipe gives a bit of a twist to traditional sugar cookies by adding almond extract to them. Also, if you like to decorate your sugar cookies (which is a great Christmas activity if you have children), I have included the recipe for almond glaze at the end of the cookie recipe.
Almond Sugar Cookie Ingredients
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the other bowl and blend well until creamy.
- Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Flatten balls to about 1/4 inch thick with the bottom of a buttered glass dipped in sugar.
- Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned.
- Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Almond Glaze Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 4 to 5 tsp water
- Sliced almonds (optional)
- Once cookies have cooled completely, they can be decorated.
- Mix all ingredients, except sliced almonds, together to make glaze.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cookie and add almonds, or other toppings, to decorate. Note - the glaze will set quickly, so I suggest you only do a few cookies at a time.