These little Almond and Einkorn Cookies have made an appearance in the snack jar in my family’s kitchen twice a week for the past month. And, for a family that generally doesn’t care too terribly much for sweets, that’s a lot. I made them so frequently at such great demand that the moment I’d turn on the shiny red KitchenAid stand mixer its whirring sound would beckon my son and husband into the kitchen, and they’d ask, “Are you making those little cookies again?” Every. Single. Time.
It’s been terribly cold in the mountains over the past few weeks. We’ve seen some 100 inches of snow fall in the last week, and I there’s a wall of snow that makes it impossible to see out of my kitchen window. I bake more frequently in the colder months, as the heat from the oven helps to warm the rickety bones of our old home. Baking is also an expression of love and of comfort. My husband and I have been married nine years now, and together for fifteen. It wasn’t so long ago that we eloped, and honeymooned in Amsterdam where we ate chocolate truffles.
Baking with Ancient Grains
I favor ancient grains and heirloom wheat in my baking. I like the richness of einkorn, the nuttiness of emmer, the dusty qualities of spelt. I like supporting farmers who charge themselves with the safe protection and eventual revival of heritage grains, and I love the old-fashioned charm of working with these grains. Other than minor adjustments to the hydration levels of baked goods, working with ancient grains and heirloom wheats is more or less the same as working with modern wheat – you have to take care not to over-beat the dough lest it become tough.
- 1¼ cup high-extraction einkorn flour (see sources)
- 1 cup blanched almond flour (available here)
- ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ½ cup room temperature butter
- ¾ cup whole, unrefined cane sugar (I buy this kind)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I buy this kind)
- 2 teaspoons almond extract (I buy this kind)
- powdered sugar, if you like, for dusting the cookies
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Dump the einkorn flour and the almond flour into a medium mixing bowl, and stir in the salt until the almond flour and salt are evenly distributed into the einkorn flour.
- Spoon the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl, and beat them together until the butter lightens in color and becomes billowy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts.
- Working about ½ cup at a time, spoon the mixed flours into the mixing bowl, beat them into the sweetened eggs and butter until they're fully incorporated.
- Working one at a time, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cookie dough into your hands, roll it into a ball and set it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Arrange the cookies about 2 inches apart to allow them to spread. Press them down with the tines of a fork, and bake them 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops are barely touched with gold. Remove them from the baking sheet with a metal spatula, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. While they're still hot, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, if you like, and continue working in batches like this until you've exhausted all the dough. Store them at room temperature in an airtight container where they'll keep about 1 week.
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