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Almond Shortbread Cookie Dough

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour

If you have a food processor, process the sugar 30 to 60 seconds until powdery. Transfer to a bowl; add almonds to food processor and process until very finely chopped. Add to bowl.

Using a mixer, cut in butter and extracts. Add flour until thoroughly mixed. (Dough can be made entirely in a food processor; once flour has been added, process until a ball forms.)

Dough can now be divided and used to make a variety of cookies, such as Chocolate Thumbprints, linzer cookies or nut crescents.

Notes: If you don’t have a food processor, you can skip that step; or you can use superfine sugar. You also can substitute 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ground almonds for the slivered almonds you would process yourself.

Caroline Burkert likes this recipe for kids because it can be worked and reworked (kids like to handle dough) and won’t get tough or overfloured the way sugar cookie dough can. “It’s very forgiving,” she said.

With her students, she divides a batch into three parts to make three different kinds of cookies. We’ve included one of those here.

Chocolate Thumbprints

1/3 batch of almond shortbread cookie dough
1/4 cup coarse sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Using about 1 teaspoon of dough for each, shape into 30 balls. Dip in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Press center with your thumb to make an indentation.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, then turn pan around and bake 8 to 10 minutes more until lightly browned. Remove to rack to cool.

Melt chocolate chips and butter together in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Fill centers of cooled cookies with chocolate and let set.

Source: Caroline Burkert

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