One of my sweet sis-in-laws had come down from the US accompanied by her adorable prankster of a two-year-old and cute-as-muffin eight-month-old twins recently. She was in town for a while but somehow, I couldn’t spend much time with her.
Her sweet li’l two-year-old used to call me Miss Nanda, ’coz I reminded him of his playschool teacher! The first time I went to visit them, he’d do all sorts of stuff to catch my attention – hide my bottle, ride his cycle all around me, or bring all sorts of things and smile ever so sweetly that it would be impossible to not lovingly pinch his cheeks each time.
The twins were not any behind on the cute-o-meter either! The boy was a mini-photocopy of his li’l big bro and the girl as sweet as any eight-month-old could be in her frocks and sexy tummy-revealing skirts.
It was on one of those visits that I took for my SIL an almond butter cookie experiment – that’s what it was, for I put together ingredients at whim hoping all the while the cookies wouldn’t crumble once out of the oven! And though the cookie dough was crumbly, I wouldn’t give up and tried to form them into triangles instead of my usual tbsp-sized heaps or flat round cookie shapes.
I even deliberately over-baked it to ensure the supposedly-triangular shape I managed to get them into simply so that they’d hold shape! They did do so, at least till they made their way into the mouths of my ever-obliging hubby, nephews and SIL. And although they looked far from those gourmet bakery stuff, they were decent enough to pass the test.
I recreated a slightly different version of the cookies and have sent a batch of these for her through my hubby. I replaced the home-made almond butter I used in the experiment with almond powder, added some crystallised sugar for the crunchy effect and baked them in the safe heap-mound shapes that I so love. They were real quick to make and had the perfect crumbly melt-in-the-mouth texture that I look for in cookies. So, Jan, these are for you. Hope you like them!
PS: For those of you who’re wondering if the name of these cookies is inspired by Sherlock Holmes’ The Adventure of the Speckled Band, let me admit – yes (sheepish grin) . But that’s where it all ends. There’s no similarity whatsoever between THE Speckled Band and these Speckled Almond Blondie mounds! The ‘mysterious’ origin of these cookies are limited to a culinary experiment and have no other sinister connection whatsoever.
Speckled Almond Flour Cookies
(Makes 30 ½ tbsp-sized blondie mounds)
Maida/APF – 1 ¼ cup
Oil – 75 ml
Powdered sugar – 20 gm
Crystallised sugar/Demerara sugar – 2 tbsp
Salt – a big pinch
Baking powder – a pinch
Almonds (with skin on) – a handful
Green cardamoms – 1-2
Note: It is the almond skin that gives these blondies the pretty speckled look, so, keep them on!
Preheat oven to 180 deg C
Finely grind almonds along with cardamom(s) and a tsp of sugar
Mix maida/APF, salt, powdered sugar and baking powder well
Add ground almonds and crystallised/Demerara sugar and mix well
Add oil and mix well with your hands
The blondie dough will be a crumbly mixture
Roll the dough mix into half tablespoon sized balls and place them on a baking tray
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins
Cool on a rack and pop into your mouth when still warm
Store the rest in an airtight container
Off this goes to