It's cookie time.
First it was the Salvation Army ringing the bell outside my local supermarket. Now it's a gaggle of girl scouts, jumping up and down and yelling "Girl Scout Cookies! Girl Scout Cookies," hoping to snare you on your way out the door. I have nothing against girl scouts -- I used to be one. But the cookies? I dunno--never been my cookie of choice.
The Food Network had a cookie making episode I once watched. When they started mixing dried fruit and roasted nuts I sat up and took notice. What could be healthier than the combination of apricots and almonds? Both are loaded with calcium and other minerals, both have fiber, and both contribute to our "good" cholesterol. And eating them in a cookie -- what's not to love?
I hate making cookies (they're so fussy), but these are kind of fun to make -- especially if you have kids around (or out-of-work girl scouts) to help. They are good with or without the icing. They keep well -- I'd say two weeks if covered tightly. They pack well so you can send them to the kids in college, to colleagues or to grandma; and they are small enough so you don't feel like you've had a big dessert. With a glass of Vin Santo, it is a sublime end to a meal. Bon Appetito!
Apricot and Almond Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp. good quality vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted ( in a 400 degree oven. Watch them--they only take a few minutes to turn golden and them burn!)
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (ditto for the pine nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour until just blended.
Fold in the apricots, almonds, and pine nuts until just blended.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log, about 12 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Cut the dough log crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Transfer to baking sheets. Space evenly apart.
Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them because cooking time will depend on how thick you cut the log.
Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the Icing
Place 1-3/4 cups confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 5-7 tbsp almond liqueur (or another flavor of liqueur, or plain water with a few drops of vanilla) until the mixture is of drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the cookies on the rack over something to catch the drips. Allow icing to set for about 30 minutes before serving.