Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Almond Stars

When the mum-in-law was 13 years old, she got this book as a gift from the Rumford company. As you can see, it is in shreads. I guess the paper was cheap, and handling it makes my air pipes itch, so this is not an heirloom I will volunteer to be in charge of. However, the recipes are still great, and simple, as I don´t suppose there was a multitude of ingredients in the 1930´s, not in the interior of Swedish Lapland anyway. The recipe for almond cookies is the one that has been most popular over the years, and the mum-in-law will make it/have it made for as long as she lives. And as long as I live, it will continue to be made for Christmas, that´s for sure.

It´s easy enough.

Take 6 bitter almonds and 30 sweet almonds, blanched and peeled, and grind them through an almond grinder. Stir 100 g of butter with 100 g of caster sugar in a bowl. Pass 300 g wheat flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder through a sieve, add 2 tablespoons of cream and 1 egg, mix all the ingredients.

The dough is then rolled out thinly and the cookies are cut out with a pastry-cutter. If you don´t like stars, I´m sure hearts taste just as good! Or, if you don´t have a designated cutter, use a drinking glass. Put them on a non-stick oven paper (you´ll need about four for this batch, which will give you two full jars of cookies), brush the cookies with a beaten egg and sprinkle pearl sugar and minced almonds on top. Bake in a medium hot oven, 200 - 225 degrees Celsius, for about five minutes, or until they are turning slightly golden.

The mum-in-law proudly quotes my sister about these: "not only are they delicious, they are addictive". So beware, I guess.

Update. for anyone wondering what an almond grinder looks like (photographed with a matchbox for size reference):


  1. I'd have to just buy a similar cookie lol. I didn't know there were bitter almonds and sweet almonds, and I've never heard of an almond grinder. I think I've discovered the depth of my cooking ignorance ;) But they do look lovely :)

    1. Never heard of an almond grinder? I shall immediately add a photo of mine to this post, to benefit your education. ;-) The mum-in-law´s grinder is from before her marriage in 1941, and it looks just the same, so the design hasn´t changed over the years. I´m on my second one, they shouldn´t really be put in the dishwasher...

      I think cooking habits vary greatly. Some time ago a friend tagged along as I was buying a new potato masher to the mum-in-law (her masher had broken, also dating from the 40´s...) and my friend didn´t know what it was! She is in her 60´s, but had never made mashed potatoes! Amazing. :-D

    2. Here in The South ;) we do mashed potatoes, so at least I know what a potato masher is lol. I think most folks now use the instant ones, though.

      I've bought salted almonds and unsalted almonds, whole almonds and slivered almonds, and honey roasted almonds, but that's about all my experience with almonds. I don't think I've ever used them as an ingredient in a recipe.

    3. I´ll be making a nutloaf for Boxing Day (a vegetarian version of meatloaf, we have a vegetarian coming), I shall post about that. Action photos of the almond grinder!

      I never could get my head around instant mash, when real mash is so easy to make. Southern cooking - what I have seen of it - seems right up my alley. I have made Dave´s Black Eye Peas several times already, and my fridge is full of cornbread!

    4. "I never could get my head around instant mash, when real mash is so easy to make."

      But instant is _easier_ ;) and a heckuva lot quicker.

    5. Easy and quick, yes, true, but if you take taste and texture and nutrition into consideration, the equation will never work out in favour of instant. Real mash doesn´t even take half an hour to make! Surely, you have time... ;-)

    6. lol, yes, I do, but I'd rather eat them roasted, which is even easier than instant mashed ;)

      Thx for the almond grinder photo. :)

    7. Or baked! They are ALL good! Looove potatoes! Have you ever tried Hasselbackspotatis?
      Butter, salt, and breadcrumbs. Yum!

    8. I have never tried the hasselback potatoes; but I've seen photos, and they look tempting. It'd be something a bit different, which is sometimes nice.