"It just makes me too nervous having my grandchildren in the kitchen. The only time I let them in there is to help with Christmas cookies. Once a year, I can find the patience for their mess, and how slowly they work. I tell myself, 'we are making memories, not cookies.' These French almond cookies are really good beginner cookies. Children as young as 3 can roll the dough between their palms, place the roll on a tray and press a blanched almond in the center," says the Reluctant Grandmother. Curling her nose and shaking her head she adds: "Just make sure they wash their hands."'
1 cup cool lightly salted butter, cut into chunks
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups ground almonds
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Stir in the honey, eggs, and ground almonds. Combine the flour and the baking soda. Stir into the butter mixture until combined.
2. Pinch off a piece of dough the size of a walnut. Roll it between your palms to form a cigar shape. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat, placing cookies 2 inches apart. Push a slivered almond into the center of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Immediately transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Cookies can be frozen in an airtight container, with wax paper between each layer, for up to 6 months. Defrost 30 minutes before serving.
Yield: About 11 dozen cookies.
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