Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass, c.1888
Blossoming Almond Branch
in a Glass, c.1888
Giclee Print

van Gogh, Vincent
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Almond Brittle Cookies



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Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, c.1890
Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, c.1890
Art Print

van Gogh, Vincent
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Almond Brittle Cookies
(My All-Time Favorite)

Classic Home Desserts icon
by Richard Sax, 1994, Chapters Publishing, Ltd.


“I’ve made these for about 20 years. A fragrant butter cookie base is
brushed with a thin layer of jam, which shows as a delicate stripe
under the topping of glazed almond slices – very tailored looking.
Because these addictive cookies are easy to make in quantity – a large
sheet is cut into neat 1-inch squares – they are ideal for a large party
or for giving as gifts.”

Makes 5 dozen cookies

Carlo’s Cookie dough [recipe follows]
1/2 cup jam, such as raspberry,
black currant or apricot
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy or
any liqueur (optional)
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1
tablespoon) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 heaping tablespoons honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Few drops fresh lemon juice
2 cups sliced blanched almonds (6 ounces)

1. Lightly butter a 15 1/2-x-10 1/2-inch jellyroll pan. Roll out the dough
on a lightly floured surface until it is slightly larger than the pan.
Carefully transfer the sheet of dough to the pan without stretching
it, allowing the rough edges to hang over the sides. Chill for 20 min-
utes or longer. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Trim the edges of the chilled dough flush with the outside edges of
the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake just until slightly
golden, 16 to 18 minutes, pricking any bubbles with a fork as they
rise. Do not overbake; the dough will bake a second time. Remove
the pan to a wire rack; leave the oven on.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the jam and the optional brandy or
liqueur. Gently brush or spoon a thin, even layer of the jam
mixture over the dough.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the sugar, salt and honey
and cook, stirring over low heat, until the sugar dissolves. Add the
cream, raise the heat and boil until the mixture is smooth and thick-
ened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla,
lemon juice and almonds. Spoon the almond mixture over the
dough; gently spread out to cover completely.
5. Return to the oven and bake until the topping is bubbly and golden
brown, 17 to 20 minutes. (Watch carefully, as the topping can go
beyond caramelized and burn quickly. You may want to rotate the
pan, back to front, partway through the baking time to help it
brown more evenly.)
6. Cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Use a yard-
stick to gently guide you as you cut the cookies into neat 1-inch
squares; trim the rough edges and save for snacking. Tightly
cover the cookies with plastic wrap, either in the pan or on a
plate; store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Carlo’s Cookie Dough

“This recipe comes from my friend and former baking teacher Carlo Bussetti.
It’s rich and buttery with vanilla and orange overtones, and because the butter
is creamed, the baked pastry has a crisp cookie texture rather than flaky layers.
This dough is also easy to handle, freezes well (make a double or triple batch)
and always comes through.
I began using it years ago to line a baking sheet for Almond Brittle Cookies, but
it also makes a crisp shell for virtually any tart and works beautifully for lining molds for individual tarts – it holds its shape and won’t slip down as it bakes.
Fill the miniature shells with fresh berries or with lemon curd.”

Makes a 10 1/2-x-15 1/2-inch sheet or two 10-inch tart shells

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1/4 cup lightly beaten egg (1 jumbo egg or
1 large egg plus 1 yolk)
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer at medium-high speed. Add
the sugar, salt and orange zest; beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk
and vanilla. Lower the speed to slow, and add the flours; stop beating
as soon as the flours are mixed in. This dough should be soft, but
not sticky.
2. Gather the dough together. Dust with flour, wrap in plastic and chill
for at least 1 1/2 hours. Let the dough soften slightly before rolling out.

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