Dutch Almond Thins
I am quite picky when it comes to biscuits/cookies. I love chocolate chip cookies . . . but my chocolate chip cookies have to be crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle . . . and have lotsa chocolate chips in them. I also love raisins and nuts in mine, although I know not everyone does. My molasses cookies have to be soft and puffy. Oatmeal cookies . . . crisp, crisp, crisp. Not all cookies are alike and not all cookies are appreciated for the same reasons.
I have to say I quite simply adore those little buttery spiced almond thins that come in the packs of Belgian Biscuits. Those packs of biscuits are quite expensive however and only a rare treat. There are lots of delicious choccie choices in the pack . . . but only a few almond thins. You can get packs of almond thins alone . . . but again they are very expensive when compared to other biscuits.
I have been on a quest to find a recipe that will replicate closely those very biscuits and I think I may have found it. This is my favourite of all the ones I have tried. I found it on the Martha Stewart page, and have adapted it here.
It’s not overly fiddly . . . you simply pack the dough into mini loaf tins and then freeze. Once the dough is frozen you cut it into thin slices, freeze again and then back. Simple. Here are my hints for success. First of all use a really REALLY sharp knife. That is the only way you will get nice thin slices. I used my carving knife. Don’t be tempted to short cut any of the steps. When it says frozen it means frozen. There is a lot of butter in this and you want them really cold when you bake them.
Watch them very carefully as they are so thin, that they will burn rather quickly. There is a very fine line beween done and over done. They might seem fiddly, but really once the dough is made and frozen, they’re as simple as slicing, sprinkling with the almonds and baking. These are moreishly addictive. Crisp, buttery and quite, quite delicious!
*Dutch Almond Thins* Makes 6 dozen Thin, crisp and nicely spiced. These go down great with a nice hot cuppa. Moreishly delicious!
420g of plain flour (3 cups) 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1/4 tsp salt 250g of unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temperature 300g of soft dark brown sugar (1 1/2 cups packed) 2 large free range eggs 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves pinch ground cardamom 45g of sliced blanched almonds (1/4 cup)
Line two mini loaf tins with some plastic cling film and set aside. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Beat the butter together with the brown sugar in another bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer for about 4 minutes, until light and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs and spices. Beat in the flour, making three additions, until all incorporated. Press the cookie dough into the mini loaf tins and cover tightly with the plastic cling film. Freeze for at least one and a half hours or up to 1 month.
When you are ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F. gas mark 6. Line a baking sheet with some nonstick baking paper. Set aside.
Remove the dough from one pan. Allow to soften slightly. Using a very sharp knife, cut eight 1/8th inch thick slices from the loaf. Recover the dough and return to the freezer, until ready to slice and bake more. Place the slices 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Top each slice with 2 to 3 almond slices. Freeze until firm. Bake until dark golden brown, from 7 to 10 minutes. (Watch diligently, as they can burn really quickly if you aren’t careful.)
Place the baking sheet onto a wire rack and let cool. Remove and store in an airtight container. Repeat until you have baked all that you require.
Biscotti are one of my favorite cookies to have with a cup of coffee or tea, but these Crispy Almond Thins give my usual biscotti a run for their money when it comes to being the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. These cookies are thin and crisp, with a rectangular shape that makes them perfect for dipping. They have a good flavor of brown sugar and almonds, both of which go with most any coffee or tea, and they keep extremely well when stored in an airtight container.
Crispy Almond Thins are slice and bake cookies, meaning that the dough is shaped and chilled, then sliced into uniform pieces before baking. The dough for these cookies is fairly stiff, so it is not difficult to shape it into a rectangular log before chilling it. Use a very sharp knife to slice the cookies so that you can easily get thin slices. Thinner cookies will be crisper than thicker ones (although an extra minute in the oven usually does the trick if yours come out a little thicker), and are a little bit more addictive. I aim to get my cookies just over 1/8-inch thick when I slice them so that if they end up a little thicker, I have some wiggle room.
I like these cookies as-is, with their nice balance of almonds and brown sugar, but this is an easy cookie to dress up, too. You could try dipping them in chocolate or adding a chocolate drizzle to one side of the, or you could add some extra spice to the cookies and turn them into something similar to a gingersnap, with cinnamon and cloves.
Crispy Almond Thins
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by almond extract. Stir in flour mixture, mixing until the dough almost comes together, then add in sliced almonds and mix until dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Turn dough out onto a large sheet of wax paper and shape into a rectangle about 3-inches wide by 1-inch high (dough can be divided into two smaller logs, if desired). Wrap well with wax paper and chill for 2 hours.
Dough can be frozen for a couple of weeks, but defrost in the refrigerator before slicing.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unwrap dough and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (thinner is better) and place on baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are light golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
Welcome to the 2nd installment of our Sweet on Trader Joe’s Saturdays!
This week, kiddo & I review one of his most requested TJ’s sweets: the Belgian Butter Almond Thins.
Trader Joe’s describes these as “all-butter traditional Belgian biscuits.” They run $2.79 for a 7.05 ounce box…approximately 8 servings per box.
The cookies are very thin and delicate, crispy, and definitely buttery.
My Take: OK…I love that these have 6 ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. That said, though, these aren’t my favorite. They’re good, but not my cup of tea. If you’re a shortbread cookie lover or love those “butter cookies” in the tins at Christmastime, you might really enjoy these, though. I, on the other hand, was tempted to slather them with Nutella.
Overall rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kiddo’s Take: I don’t know what world she’s in, but these are delicious. Their thinness makes it feel like they melt in your mouth, and the almond flavor comes out very strong, leaving you with a sweet and enjoyable aftertaste. (Caution: I could eat an entire box of these in 5 minutes, so be careful.)
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Trader Joe’s Belgian Butter Almond Thins: split decision!