I made these cookies for my sweetheart. Whenever I create a flour storm in the kitchen, he keeps his mouth quiet, pretending as if the counter tops were not strewn with powdered sugar and there was not a pile of dishes in the sink stacked so precariously it could rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Rarely a peep is heard as I run around taking pictures and get crumbs all over the living room floor. Though he is always willing to give whatever comes out of the oven a fair try (even if he might need a little push), his favorite "experiments" to taste are, hands down, the cookies.
You could say that I am dating a cookie man.
It was our third anniversary of being together this past month. Worse than a television sitcom where the clueless husband forgets an important anniversary, we both completely spaced out the date, remembering two weeks later as the calendar was flipped over to a new month. I wonder if this is how an old married couple feels, forgetting the important dates as their time together grows. Is simply being around one another enough of a celebration? With the date so far past gone and Valentine's Day right around the corner, it just seems silly to go back and observe the much belated anniversary.
Perhaps I should circle the date with a big red marker on the calendar for next year.
Even though there was no fanfare, fancy dinner, or real recognition of the special day, there were these Toasted Almond Cookies. Cut out with hearts and filled with honey sweetened figs, they rested in the cookie jar on the counter top, unknowingly appropriate and deliciously celebratory. During the few days that these cookies lasted, the boy and I would sneak them when we thought the other was not looking, trying to hide the fact that we were eating a couple more cookies than we should.
I may be dishearteningly forgetful, but there may be something to be said about a baker's intuition.
Toasted Almond Cookies with Dried Fig Filling are a twist on the traditional linzer cookie. Almonds are toasted before being ground and turned into cookies. With a dash of cinnamon, the cookies have a bold, beautiful intensity. When sandwiched together with a filling made from dried figs, honey, and brown sugar, a truly unique flavor emerges. The cookies are firm on the first day and soften on the second, providing a range of textures to enjoy.
Toasted Almond Cookies with Dried Fig Filling
Yields 2 dozen cookies
Toasted Almond Cookies
1 cup (130 grams) sliced almonds, toasted
8 tablespoons (110 grams) butter
2/3 cup (130 grams) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
In a food processor, finely grind the toasted almonds. Add in the butter and brown sugar and continue mixing until smooth. Run a spatula down the sides of the bowl and mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and flours, processing until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. If it does not form a dough, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it does. Form dough into a ball, flatten it, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter or upside down glass. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned along the edges. Allow to cool completely before filling.
Dried Fig Filling
1 cup (150 grams) dried figs
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons (45 grams) honey
2 tablespoons (25 grams) brown sugar
Pinch of salt
In a food processor, process together all the ingredient until it forms a thick jam.
Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of filling on the underside of one cookie and sandwich it with another.