Finnish Cakes

Almond-flavored cookies for your Christmas spread.

By Molly O'Neill

“Even toddlers can sprinkle the almonds on these cookies,” says the Reluctant Grandmother. “If you don’t mind shaved almonds all over your kitchen. Which I do.”

3/4 cup lightly salted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted flour
1/3 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter, 1/4 cup of the sugar and almond extract. Stir in the flour. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

2. Place the dough between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into strips 2 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.

3. Combine the remaining tablespoon of sugar with the almonds. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cookies with egg white. Sprinkle with the almond and sugar mixture. Carefully transfer cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake to a delicate brown, 17 to 20 minutes.

4. 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 36 cookies.



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