The hubs and I ate dinner at Babbo last Christmas, and while the food was quite good, the only thing that really knocked my socks off was dessert. We shared an apple crostata, topped with creamy gelato and sea salt caramel. It was amazing. I'm not usually a dessert eater, but that night I housed the whole thing.
Afterward, I decided to pick up Gina DePalma's book, Dolce Italiano. Gina is the pastry chef at Babbo, and her book is full of Italian dessert recipes. They're simple, authentic, and not overly sweet, and reading the book makes you long for a crunchy biscotti and a glass of vin santo.
I love this recipe for almond cookies. They have a delicious almond and lemon flavor, and go perfectly with a hot cup of tea.
Almond Cookies, from Dolce Italiano
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour (I used Trader Joe’s Almond Meal)
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sliced almonds
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and put aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, then the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in the dry ingredients (I did this in two stages) on low speed. Remove dough from bowl, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat.
Place almonds in a dish, and lightly beat the egg white.
Divide your dough into three equal pieces. Put two pieces back into the fridge, and roll the third one into a log about ½ inch in diameter. Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices. Roll each slice in beaten egg white, and press the top into the almonds. Line up on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining portions of dough
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until golden at edges, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Let cool on baking sheet for two minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Cookies keep well for up to four days. They taste better at room temperature, rather than fresh out the oven.