The past week has NOT been filled with many successes. Last Sunday I had planned to make soft pretzels with my boyfriend Christoph but instead it ended up being a boring day and we literally just sat for hours trying to think of what to do. We sat for so long that I almost started to cry, I was so bored out of my mind and couldn’t think of one single fun or productive thing to do. We wanted to go out for dinner but all the restaurants and shops we wanted to go to were closed (why must everything close so early on Sundays?!). So, we got hot dogs from a street vendor for dinner instead.
Just yesterday I decided to bake three different recipes and I’m not really sure what came over me that day. First, I started with a loaf of the famous no knead bread. I had made it a few times before with great results until this time I tried the recipe with all bread flour. The bread flour I bought actually ended up being whole wheat bread flour and not thinking anything of it I used it for the whole recipe. What a disaster! The bread smelled horrible, tasted horrible, and I ended up stabbing it with my fork. Yes, I was mad and again I almost started to cry.
Next up was a batch of sticky pecan bites, a recipe by Alice Medrich. These were good however, not great. That was probably due to my lack of interest after the bread disaster and also because I’m not a big fan of cinnamon. I guess I was drawn to the recipe just because of how adorable they look. So, this one wasn’t actually a failure and I didn’t almost start to cry but what I made after would make up for all the rest.
Pain d’amande cookies are not the sort of thing you expect to make you happy. Usually when I’m down, all I want is a big, fat, chewy, chocolate chip cookie or anything fatty, really. These pain d’amande are thin, light, crisp, buttery, and nutty wafers that are surprisingly delicious. I had wanted to try this recipe for a while but never had the right ingredients as the recipe calls for Hawaiian washed raw sugar. I actually didn’t have the right sugar still but I wanted to make them for my grandmother’s birthday since she loves anything with almonds. I’m glad I did because these are exactly the sort of thing you want around, to keep nibbling on long after you’re full, and to make up for all those things that can bring you down.
1 stick (115g) of salted butter
1 1/3 cups (300g) of coarse raw sugar
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup (85g) of water
2 1/3 cups (325g) of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1 cup (85g) of sliced almonds
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional but I highly recommend it)
In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot combine the butter, cinnamon, and water. Heat on medium until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the coarse sugar. Add the flour, baking soda, and sliced almonds and stir until all is moistened and just until combined.
Line a 9 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and press the dough into the pan until the top is flat. Chill in the freezer for about an hour or until the dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Remove dough from the pan and unwrap. Using a very sharp knife, slice the dough cross wise into very thin slices (about 1-2mm or the thickness of a coin). Lay out onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, at least 1 cm apart. Sprinkle each sheet of cookies with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, remove, flip each cookie over, and return to oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or until they are golden on the tops and bottoms. Let cool for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
Store cookies in an airtight container.