This traditional Christmas cookie is one that I enjoy year round, so when my delightful friend and fellow cookbook writer
|blanched sliced almonds|
|bleached all-purpose flour|
|fine sea salt||.||.|
|unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C)|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|pure almond extract||.||.|
|glacéed cherries, sugar sprinkles, or dragées, for decorating||.||.||.|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, no preparation needed or lined with parchment | A large pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch star pastry tube or a cookie press
Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
Food Processor Method In a food processor, process the almonds and sugar until fairly fine. Cut the butter into several pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and process until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until blended.
Stand Mixer Method Use a nut grater to grate the almonds powder fine and then whisk them into the flour mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, on medium speed, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat for 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Scrape the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the outside of the plastic wrap to knead together the dough until it is completely even and soft enough to pipe smoothly.
Scoop the dough into the pastry bag (or spoon some of the dough into the cookie press and cover the remaining dough). Pipe 7 rosettes or 14 stars about
To get the best possible shape for the rosettes, use your fingers to smooth the ends of the rosettes after piping. For the stars, hold the bag in a vertical position (straight up and down) with the toothed edge of the tube just slightly above the cookie sheet. Squeeze the bag firmly without moving it until the shape is as wide as desired, just at the point when the lines in the dough are on the verge of curving. Stop squeezing the tube and push the tube down slightly. Lift the tube straight up and away. Decorate with the glacéed cherries set in the centers, and/or top with sugar sprinkles or dragées.
Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and use a pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack. Cool completely.
While each batch of cookies is baking, shape the dough for the next batch.
Airtight: room temperature, 1 month; refrigerated or frozen, 6 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.