Pucker Up! You'll Love These Almond Kisses
Inherently gluten-free, I grew up enjoying these surprising little cookies and they were one of the first things I began making in earnest after my diagnosis with Celiac disease. Passed down to me from my Italian grandmother, they are very dear to me. After trying them yourself, I’m sure you’ll find them just as endearing. They are a fantastic example of how a simple recipe can garner a truly resplendent response. Perfect to give as gifts or to serve at your next celebration, there really isn’t a wrong time to make them. And there certainly isn't a wrong time to eat them! Enjoy!
Almond Kisses(adapted from my cookbook Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 3/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (Abe's recommends: Bob's Red Mill gluten-free almond meal/flour)
- 2 cups sliced almonds, coarsely
- 1-pound jar maraschino cherries,
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a food processor, combine the almond meal and sugar and mix on low for a few seconds. Add the egg whites and almond extract and mix on high until the dough pulls together into a sticky mass and then forms a ball. The dough should be very thick.
Put the sliced almonds in a pie pan. Take a large handful of the almonds and crush them. Using a 1 1/4-inch-diameter ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and transfer it to a flat surface; you should have 18 balls of dough.
Fill a shallow bowl halfway with water and lightly wet the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together so that they are equally moist.
Take one of the dough balls and place it in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Gently press the ball into a disk the size of a half dollar. Place a single cherry in the middle of the disk and then carefully lift the edges of the disk up and around the cherry, enrobing it in the dough. Roll the cookie between your hands to form a ball. If the dough pulls away from the cherry, your hands are too sticky, so lightly moisten them in the water again, and then proceed. Roll the finished ball in the crushed almonds until evenly coated and place on one of the prepared pans. Repeat until all the cookies have been made. The cookies do not spread, but keep at least 1 inch between them so you get a nice even bake.
Bake, one pan at a time, for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The kisses are done when toasted golden brown and faintly cracked on the surface. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 18 cookies