1/2 cup blanched almonds
16 oz. unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp. cognac, or other brandy
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Whole cloves (optional)
Confectioners' sugar (about 1 pound), for sifting over tops
Prehat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C).
Spread almonds in single layer on baking sheet.
Bake, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; cool, and chop coarsely.
Beat softened butter in large bowl of electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
Add the 3 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar; continue beating 3 minutes.
Add egg yolks, cognac and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Mix in almonds, flour and baking powder until mixed well (if dough is too soft to handle, add additional flour).
Shape tablespoons of dough between your palms and roll into round balls or oval shaped or crecsent shaped cookies.
Place (push down slightly) one whole clove on top of each cookie, (optional).
Bake in preheated oven on ungreased baking sheets until set and very pale golden in color, about 15 minutes. The shortbread cookies should not be too brown, a very light color, almost no color.
Remove cookies to cooling rack.
Place remaining confectioners' sugar into sifter, and while cookies are still hot, sift confectioners' sugar over tops.
When cookies are completely cool, roll cookies in confectioners' sugar, and then repeat this rolling in sugar one more time. Place each cookie in a pretty paper muffin cup for serving, if desired.
Makes 4 dozen shortbread cookies.
Date: October 19, 2002