Hungarian  Zsolnay Porcelain : Bamboo Pattern

Hungarian Zsolnay Porcelain: Bamboo Pattern

These (not too sweet) cookies are based on a recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen, who in turn adapted the recipe from the Hazelnut Espresso Cookies in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine. I managed to find the latter recipe - and it too sounds fab! Visit the Healthy Green site if you are interested in her more organic version. 

Since these use almond flour, they are gluten-free.

Makes 15-30 cookies, depending on size. (As usual, see my Tips below, before beginning. ) 

Getting Ready:

  • preheat oven to 325°F
  • line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or use a silpat)
  • separate eggs (unless you have frozen egg whites)
  • bring egg whites to room temperature (I usually use egg whites that I have frozen)

2 cups almonds, ground almonds or almond flour (see Tips)
1 TB espresso powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

If using whole almonds, process the almonds in a high speed blender or food processor until fine. Transfer the processed almonds, or purchased almond flour to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk together.

4 large egg whites

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the nut mixture into the egg whites. Add the vanilla and mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter onto cookie sheets - using whatever sizing you prefer. I use a 20 ml scoop - equivalent to a heaping tablespoon. I add a few sliced almonds on top to make them look prettier. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You may notice them becoming somewhat golden brown. Even if you don't notice that colour change, they will be done.

Notes and Tips...

  • Almonds -  the recipe source offers the option of creating your own "almond flour" by adding almonds to a high speed food processor and processing until fine. (I would pulse to get the desired consistency - overworked, the almonds can turn into almond butter. The source avoids this by processing all dry ingredients together - "Process almonds, coffee, sugar, and salt in a high speed blender or food processor until fine".) I tend to have almond flour on hand so I skip that step. Noteworthy that these "flours" vary in how fine they are. I once had to test a recipe and used "ground almond' purchased bulk, then repeated it with Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour - which was more fine. The resulting muffins differed in look and texture though both tasted great. If making your own almond flour - any kind of almonds can be used - whole, slivered, sliced - whatever you have on hand. Even unblanched can be used - the resulting flour will look "dirty" and the cookie will be darker - all good, and equally tasty.
  • Espresso Powder - see my entry on this valuable kitchen ingredient
  • Egg Whites - always best to have these at room temperature for optimal results. This is one of those recipes I reach for when using up leftover egg whites that I have stored in the freezer.
  • Leftover egg yolks? - here are some tips for using these. If you're brave, try candied egg yolks - which I have not yet tried.
  • Folding - I do this gently and yet with the weight of the dry ingredients, the mixture still collapses a fair bit - no worries.
  • Cookie size - as with all cookies, I use "disher scoops" - for this I use the 20 ml scoop. One tablespoon is 15 ml, so you could say I do a heaping TB.
  • Silpat - these cookie sheet liners became popular some years ago. I ruined my first by slicing the thing I had baked with a knife - and it sliced right into / through the Silpat sheet. I got a new one, but in truth find that - especially for batch baking - I reach for parchment most often. Short way of saying that if you like Silpats you should have 2 or 3.
  • Storage - cookies can be stored in a tin for several days at room temperature or longer in the fridge. Once I think I must have tucked them away for storage before they totally cooled. I found the cookies ended up being a bit moist and sticky. Popped them back in a 325 F oven for about 5 minutes and they became drier and crispy, as desired.
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