Irresistible Cherry Almond Cookies

Studded with dried cherries and made with almond flour, these divine cookies are also gluten-free.
Studded with dried cherries and made with almond flour, these divine cookies are also gluten-free.

There are people who lean toward crisp cookies. Others who go for cakey ones. And some who favor chewy all the way.

Count me in that latter category. And these “Cherry Almond Cookies” have chewiness in spades.

The recipe is from “Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook” (Clarkson Potter) by Alex Guarnaschelli, executive chef of Butter Restaurant in New York, and a regular judge on the Food Network’s “Chopped.”

The book is all about fun, homey dishes, including some that her mother and father used to make.

These cookies combine two of her favorite ingredients: cherries and almonds. The almond takes the form of almond flour and almond extract, with whipped egg whites holding everything together. In fact, these cookies are gluten-free. The cherries are dried ones, not the candied type that adorn old-school Italian cookies. There’s a surprise smidge of ground ginger that adds a little mysterious and festive holiday air.

Bet you can't eat just one. I know I can't!
Bet you can’t eat just one. I know I can’t!

The cookies bake up crisp on the very outer edges and extremely chewy within. In fact, the texture is quite reminiscent of coconut macaroons. But of course, there’s no coconut in these babies.

How delicious are these cookies? I gifted some to a friend, who immediately requested the recipe. That just about says it all.

Chewy, chewy, chewy.
Chewy, chewy, chewy.

Cherry Almond Cookies

(Makes about 20 cookies)

1 2/3 cups almond flour

1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Grated zest of 1 large lemon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Scant 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

2 large egg whites

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Start the batter: Put the almond flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, ginger, almond extract, salt, and dried cherries in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Add the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and honey on medium-high speed until they reach fairly stiff peaks, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond flour mixture.

Form the cookies: Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Wet your hands to keep the batter from sticking (and this batter is sticky!), then use your hands to form the batter into 1-tablespoon balls. Flatten the balls slightly into thick coins, roll them generously in the confectioners’ sugar, and set them on the prepared sheet pans, leaving 1 inch of space between each cookie and wetting your hands as needed. You should end up with about 20 cookies.

Bake the cookies: Bake until the cookies are light brown on the top and edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 2 to 3 minutes. Then use a metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for another 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Store the cookies in a plastic container with a fitted lid at room temperature for up to 2 days.

From “Cook with Me” by Alex Guarnaschelli

Another Alex Guarnaschelli Recipe to Enjoy: Cheese Focaccia with Apples

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