I mentioned, in my last post, that I’ve been put on a low dose of blood pressure medication. This medication is supposed to get my body to stop ignoring my extremities, blood-circulation-wise, which should in turn stop my toe being such an attention-seeking diva. When my doctor handed me the prescription, she said I should increase my salt intake and liquids. And for the past few days, I have. My unsalted nuts have been replaced with salted nuts, and I’ve made myself savoury oatmeal instead of peanut-butter-cinnamon-brown-sugar oatmeal in the mornings (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of overly-salty foods, and so when I decided that today’s grey Canberran skies necessitated baking… well, clearly, I didn’t bake crackers or cheese crisps or stock-powder-vegemite-anchovy-caper meringues. (Mmm, anchovy meringues.)
Nope. I needed sweetness, but sweetness with a complex darker edge, sweetness in the form of a hazelnut-riff on an amaretti cookie, sweetness that resulted in a crisp, firm outside and a moist (at least when warm-out-of-the-oven), soft, intensely-nutty middle.
I should probably dip these cookies in soy sauce, though. Sigh.
Adapted from here. Makes 20-25, depending on size
Apart from the egg whites, I switched up every ingredient in the original recipe. Wholemeal for plain flour, hazelnut for almond, raw caster for caster sugar and, most significantly, almond extract for vanilla extract. If you aren’t a fan of the strong, bitter edge to almond extract, stick with the sweeter, smoother vanilla extract. I, however, would be happy to use almond extract like perfume and live in it, so I snubbed the vanilla..
- 180g hazelnut meal
- 3/4 cup raw caster sugar
- 1/3 cup wholemeal plain flour
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- First, prepare yourself for an arduous, stressful, complicated eon of baking. And then giggle because that’s the opposite of what you’ll be doing. Say it with me now: Hurrah!
- Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F). In a large bowl, mix together everything with a spoon or utensil of your choosing (best avoid the whisk and the zester, though). It might look a bit dry and crumbly at first, but will eventually start coming together. It is quite a dry dough, though.
- Shape tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Gently press each ball to flatten (except I didn’t really do this. I kept them as balls, just for Amber). Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
- Nom nom nom. These would be great with coffee, as they’re quite sweet but also, because of the almond extract, intense enough to hold their own against coffee’s similar strength.