This almond cookie is inspired by my favorite cookie throughout graduate school. At the end of my first week of grad school, our Costume Shop Manager Jen, while running errands picked up a mix of cookies from the local Whole Foods. The vegan option was an almond encrusted cookie. It was soft, chewy, almond flavored, and delicious. At a dollar a cookie from the cookie bar, it was my go-to pick over the next three years when I wanted a quick treat. The chocolate-chocolate or peanut butter vegan options could not stand up to the almond.
Upon moving to Florida, one of the first things I looked for at the new Whole Foods down the road was my beloved almond cookie. Sadly, none of the WF locations within driving distance of my new Florida home made the vegan almond cookie as an option in the cookie bar. It appeared that the Chapel Hill location catered more to the plant-based community that lived in the area. Nearly three years later, I was having cookie cravings. I looked online to see if I could find a similar cookie recipe to try and make the cookies myself. After looking through many options online, none of them had a cookie the texture, size, and look of my beloved almond cookie. After a first failed puddle of a cookie, I have finally settled on this recipe after 4 test bakes.
These cookies come out of the oven filling the kitchen with the sweet scent of almonds. The cookie is tender and light with wonderful almond flavor through the center and a nice crunch of sliced almonds on the exterior.
113g / 1/2 c Butter (softened)*
300g / 2 1/2c All Purpose Flour
14g / 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
3g / ¾ tsp Baking Powder
1.5g / 1/4tsp Baking Soda
2g / 1 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher or Sea Salt (I/2 tsp for Morton’s)
180g / 1 c Raw Sugar (or Granulated)
49g / ¼ c Aquafaba**
2g / 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4g / 1 tsp Almond Extract
1 ½ c Sliced Almonds
*Tested with Earth Balance plant-based butter, but other butter options should work fine.
**The liquid drained from a can or pot of cooked chickpeas (no salt added).
Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar with a mix for 1-2 minutes over medium speed until light and fluffy, or 3 minutes by hand. Add the aquafaba and beat for 30 second or until incorporated and fluffy. Then add the vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined.
Slowly add in the flour as the mixture runs on low. Beat for about 10-15 seconds until almost completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula to scarp down the paddle or beaters as well as the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is mixed in.
This dough can be super soft if your kitchen is warm. If the dough is stiff enough to handle, portion into 2 tablespoon size balls. If it is too sticky, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour. (You do not want it to set up all the way in the refrigerator, only to become less sticky so that you can work with it).
Once portioned into balls, roll the top and sides of each ball in the sliced almonds. Place a small sheet pan or place lined in parchment paper and freeze for at least an hour but ideally overnight.
Heat your oven to 350F. Line a large sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper, pull the cookie dough balls from the freezer and space them 3” apart.
Bake for 14-17 minutes depending on your oven. At 12 minutes rotate the pan. This will give you a change to check on their progress. Once done, the almonds and the cookie edges should be slightly golden brown.
Pull the pan out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. If you like pillowy cookies, let them cool on the pan. If you like deflated cookies, give the pan a hard whack on the edge of the counter as you pull them from the oven. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before then sliding the parchment off the pan and onto the cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.