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Almond Lace Cookie Baskets

Posted on Apr 1, 2011

This simple recipe is adapted from Epicurious.  Instead of chopped almonds, I used toasted sliced almonds, and added a splash of Amaretto to the batter as well.  Dipping the tips or even the bottom of the bowl in chocolate would be a very elegant touch, too.  I just ran out of time and couldn’t make an example for you here.
To make the lace baskets, you simply prepare lace cookie batter and bake as directed, then let them cool a minute or two.  And, one reviewer had this ingenious idea to make transferring the cookies a cinch:  take kitchen shears and cut the parchment paper around each cookie, then lift the paper and flip the cookies onto an upside down jumbo muffin pan.  Easy as pie, and the paper slides right off. You can use upside down coffee cups, small bowls, or custard dishes if you don’t have a jumbo muffin pan – it all depends on how wide you want the bottom of your “bowl” to be.
Now, don’t be impatient like me and transfer these when they’re too warm.  You’ll end up with ugly holes like you can see in the photo. Do you remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy doused the wicked witch with water?  Well, your baskets will look just like that – a rumpled pile, if they’re too soft when you try to mold them. You want them pliable, but firm enough to hold their shape.
And if you forget, like I did, and leave them on the muffin tin too long and try to remove them, well, let’s just say they’ll end up like Humpty-Dumpty – all cracked up!  Silly me, I forgot you can pop the muffin pan back in the oven a minute and the cookies will soften up just enough to remove them. You’ve heard of a bad hair day, I was having a bad baking day.
Fill these with anything your heart desires:  ice cream, gelato, fruit, mousse, yogurt, or whatever you can dream up..  Impressive, easy, delish, and you can make them several days ahead and store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to fill them.
I’ve got my eye on a couple of variations of this recipe that I plan to try next.  I’ll share the recipe in a future post.  Have fun making (and eating) these lovely treats!

Almond Lace Cookie Baskets

adapted from Epicurious
Makes about 8-10 baskets

What you’ll need

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (preferably organic)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced natural almonds
1/4 teaspoon Amaretto (Vanilla or almond extract would be good too)
How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat sheets.
2.  Combine brown sugar, butter and the corn syrup in a medium sauce pan.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the batter is smooth.  It will be almost to a simmer when this occurs.  Rub a tiny bit between two fingers to see if you feel any sugar crystals.  If so, continue to cook until smooth.
3.  Remove from the heat, and stir in the sliced almonds and Amaretto.
4.  Use a 2″ scoop (about 2 tablespoons) and spoon batter 4-6 inches apart on each baking sheet.  You’ll get 4 cookies to a sheet.  They may seem small, but they’ll spread to about 6-8 inches during baking.  Bake 1 sheet at a time on the middle rack, until they’re golden brown and bubbling, about 8 minutes.
5.  Cool cookies on the sheet for a minute or two.  Flip a jumbo muffin pan upside down and have it beside the cookie sheet.  Cut parchment around each cookie with kitchen shears, and place cookie side down, pressing lightly on the sides to mold them into a basket shape.  Continue with remaining cookies.  If the cookies are too soft, wait a little longer and try again.  If they become
too brittle to mold, simply pop the cookie sheet back in the oven a minute and they’ll soften.
6.  Bake second sheet of cookies and repeat process.  The baked cookie baskets will be firm enough to remove from your muffin pan while the others are baking.  I like using the muffin pan because you can pop it in the oven a minute to soften the cookies if they become too brittle to remove.
7.  These cookies are very versatile.  You can leave them flat and dip halfway in chocolate before serving.  Or, spread melted chocolate, ganache, or buttercream filling on one cookie and top it with another to make a sandwich.  Or, use a wooden spoon or homemade foil mold to shape them into cylinders or cones and fill if desired.  Oh, the possibilities are endless.

A recipe is like a beautiful song, which an imaginative cook can play each time with variation.

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