It wasn't just another Sunday Slow Baking day, at least here in Santa Barbara. The Gap Fire just north of us in Goleta have been causing power outages for the last several days, so naturally just when I was ready to start baking, we lost power. It came back on a little while later, and I quickly made a batch of these Almond Finger Cookies. But then it went out again before I had a chance to download photos and blog about them. We are back up and running now, so I think I will barely manage to get my entry posted before it's no longer Sunday.
I am so glad I made the effort to bake these cookies! Thank you, Terry, for picking these Almond Fingers for this week's Sunday Slow Bakers. They didn't sound all that exciting when I first read the recipe, but wow, was I surprised. If you have even the slightest fondness for almonds, you will be taken with these cookies. The cookie itself is made with almond flour, which seems to give it an absolutely perfect texture. Then the flavor of all those almonds on top just enhance it further.
I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour, but it's pricey (about $10 for a 16-ounce package). If I hadn't already had some in my pantry, I would have substituted the almond meal that they sell at Trader Joe's. I did buy my sliced almonds at Trader Joe's. I debated between the sliced almonds that had the skins vs. the sliced almonds that were blanched but had been toasted. I finally decided on the toasted almonds, thinking that since they were going to be baked anyway, what's a little extra toasted flavor? As it turned out, the toasted flavor of the almonds really makes these cookies extraordinary, so I think I made the right decision.
The technique for getting the almonds on the cookie dough is to turn them in a dish of beaten egg white, and then roll them in the almonds. I found that it wasn't so much rolling them in almonds as it was pressing the almonds onto the dough. Egg white is more slippery than sticky, so you really have to flatten the cookies into the almonds to get them thoroughly covered. It takes a little bit of time.
But back to the dough for a second. I chilled my dough (in a refrigerator with the power off) for longer than the time called for, but it was still a little tricky to work with. When I first rolled the dough on a wooden board, it started sticking like crazy. So I dragged out my marble pastry slab and that made it a little easier.
Even though the recipe calls for rolling them into little logs, you don't have to be terribly precise about them. They are going to get squished when you coat them with the almonds. Each one ends up having a rustic one of a kind look to it. I believe you are supposed to sprinkle them with powdered sugar, but I didn't see that in the recipe. Perhaps mine look a little less elegant, but I think they have an even more intense almond flavor without the extra sugar. I love them just the way they are.
I still have a third of the dough in my now fully functioning refrigerator, so I will probably do another batch tomorrow night, power willing. And a little loss of power is a minor thing compared to what most people in the fire area are going through. I am fortunate that we live far enough away from this fire that we are not concerned with being evacuated. But my thoughts are with all of those who have been evacuated from their homes or are on standby. Let me know if you need any cookies.