08 January 2013

Toasted Almond Whole Wheat Sables

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, hello. I can actually clear off the counter now while I count to 60 as you mix for me... methinks I've opened to a new world.

These little golden toasted almond sables lightly adapted from Heidi who lightly adapted it from Alice,  were the first thing I made with the famous machine newly slotted in the back corner of my counter where I am able to slide it at its will forward when it calls for usage.

The method: I creamed salted Irish butter and organic cane sugar along with vanilla and sea salt, threw in toasted, finely chopped almonds, then blended in a mix of both whole wheat pastry and all purpose flours,  swirled in a handful of diced golden raisins, chilled the ball of dough overnight then rolled it out and stamped shapes with, not, I'm afraid with a vintage cookie cutter, but with the twist of the top of a spice jar. Which happens to be the perfect small circle size I like cookies.

I love how they nicely crisped around the edges and maintained a buttery base while delivering that nice nuttiness of whole wheat. Very nice browning is possible here without burning if you keep your eye on the oven as they finish up. You're going for color. And, even after halving this one from the original (because, well, I still get a bit frugal about using 2 sticks of butter in the same baking extravaganza) I still ended up with two jars of cookies on my counter. I mean, they are small little things, but since they're shortbread, they'll be good for a week. The bonus of the eggless cookie : )

The delicate whole wheat combined with the deeply toasted almonds gives the flavor a toasted sandy nuttiness. And that phrase quite reminds me of being a child and always wanting a Good Humor Toasted Almond Crunch ice cream bar. You see, even then I had a thing for toasted, chopped nuts. And now I put them in everything--salads, cookies, yogurt, you name it.

So if you're looking for that perfect, sandy afternoon cookie without delving into the chocolate realm, a few of these alongside a little milky, honeyed black tea just might make your day. xo MN

Toasted Almond Whole Wheat Sables

1/2 c (1 stick) salted good butter (I used Kerrygold), softened (left out for about an hour)
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1/8 t  fine sea salt
3 T toasted, finely chopped almonds
1/4 c finely chopped raisins (or whole currants)
1/2 t vanilla extract
Larger grain sugar for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, sift the flours together and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla for about a minute until creamy, then add the almonds and give it a light stir. Add the flour and mix until barely combined. (I just briefly used the mixer stir setting and really watched it). Add the raisins and stir again until just incorporated.

Scrape dough into a ball, dump onto a piece of plastic, shape into a round patty, and tightly wrap. Refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight. 

15 minutes before you're ready for baking, take out your dough. Preheat oven to 350, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven, line sheet pans with parchment.

Roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured counter top, cut into desired shapes. You can re-roll scraps. Just place the dough in the freezer for a moment if you find it getting melty. Cold is important. Line the pans with the cookies about an inch apart, sprinkle each with a tiny pinch of larger-grain sugar, and place the trays in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake 13-15 minutes until edges are golden and crisping. Watch the color. Rotate the sheets about 9 minutes in. I changed the back to front angle and  switched the top and bottom racks. Let cool on the tray 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in jars.

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