Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are blissfully exhausted from eating too much and worn out from the activities that go along with your holiday traditions. I had a mixed bag of emotions this time around, as it was my first Christmas away from my mom and sisters (we usually trek to mom's house in Canada). Part of me was looking forward to the opportunity to start our own tradition, as a family of three. My husband and 22-month old are the most amazing people in my life, so it wasn't an issue with the company. It was that all I knew were the fond memories of Christmas held at mom's, year after year: the stockings that she quilted by hand when we were kids, which were always hung neatly over the fireplace; the smorgasbord of sushi we ate on Christmas Eve; the ridiculous spread of food that was presented during every meal; and the multiple dozens of cookies that my sisters and mom would bake. You can't help but sample at least one of each. Without exaggeration, there were probably 10 different kinds, which starts to add up (to your waistline), but that didn't stop us. We loved just being together, all sleeping over at mom's, having a grand 'ol time.
Not even attempting to recreate any of that experience, I just wanted to bring one of my favourite cookies to our own Christmas spread. My mom's almond cookie recipe must be at least 25 years old. She's been baking them for as long as I can remember. She is so good at making them – the texture and flavour are always consistently perfectly satisfying, always exactly how I remember them. I changed things up a bit and used my cookie scoop. However, I do recommend forming them into snowballs by hand, instead, and making another batch into crescents (you can easily make these by first making the balls and then forming them into crescents). Rolling them this way packs a slightly denser cookie with a better crunch, which, to me, is more like mom's, and is less apt to fall apart. They are simple, scrumptious and hard to mess up. I hope you enjoy this old family recipe as much as I do!
Almond Shortbread Cookies
- 2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/4 cup softened butter
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup ground almonds
- Stir together flour and salt. Cream butter; gradually beat in sugar, add vanilla.
- Slowly add dry ingredients except almonds to creamed mixture.
- Stir ground almonds into dough. Form into one-inch balls, shape into crescents.
- Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated 325˚F oven 12 - 15 minutes. Cool.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar while still warm.