You may be familiar with this almond pastry, which is officially known as Dutch Roomboter Banketstaaf — that is, Flaky Pastry with Almond Filling.
I made this last year. I’m not normally the world’s biggest fan of almond paste, but it’s interesting stuff, and actually the pastry sets this almond filling off really well. I found it fairly addictive, which was good, as there was plenty to go around.
So I happened to spot the version linked above at Willow Bird Baking, which is also where I got the picture, btw. You may recall that Julie at Willow Bird Baking often includes a nice school-related story to go with her recipes, which is the case here. Very Christmasy. You should click through and read the entry, and then if you want to make the almond pastry, go to it.
On the other hand, if you’re not necessarily interested in working with pastry, here is an easy cookie version of this recipe. I made these cookies this morning and they are definitely reminiscent of the Dutch pastry.
Almond Pastry Cookies
1 C butter, softened
2/3 C powdered sugar
1/4 C milk — I was out of milk and used cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 C all-purpose flour
7 oz almond paste, which comes in cans, btw. I get mine at Global Foods, but this time of year perhaps normal grocery stores carry it.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the milk and vanilla. Stir in the flour. This dough is easy to work with as-is, no need to chill.
Divide the almond paste into four portions. Divide each of those portions into fourths, and fourths again. Roll each portion into a ball. Poof! You now have 64 little balls of almond paste.
Divide the cookie dough into 64 portions just as you did with the almond paste. Roll each bit of dough into a ball, flatten, top with a ball of almond paste, pinch the dough shut around the filling, and roll into an even ball again. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
All this rolling of stuff into balls really does not take very long, btw. Naturally if you happen to have children who can be recruited, it will go even faster.
Anyway, bake the cookies at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool a bit on the cookie sheets and then cool completely on wire racks.
Dust with powdered sugar. My suggestion is: don’t actually roll the balls in powdered sugar; you aren’t making tea cookies. Just dust them lightly.
These are unusual, quite good, and very Christmasy.