Apple Almond-Butter Cookies

apple almond butter cookiesWhen Dan and I were first living together, I watched a lot of Food Network. I mean, A LOT. I was just learning how to really cook, and the pre-Rachael Ray Food Network chefs, plus as much Martha Stewart as I could injest, relaly helped me to learn all the basics. These days I think the only cook left on TV who actually teaches anything is Alton Brown, and I am amazed and grateful that Food Network still keeps him around (and hasn’t convinced him that he would be more popular if he put a pound of butter in everything).

A side effect of this culinary TV obsession was that I really, really wanted a Kitchenaid mixer. I wasn’t totally sure what I needed it for, but it was so pretty! So shiny! I was convinced that I couldn’t be serious about cooking without one. Dan and I talked them up so much, we ended up getting one for Christmas from each of our moms. (The next year we got two blenders, but we’ve since learned to coordinate our lists.)

But in the years since the mixer appeared in our kitchen, it hasn’t been nearly as useful as I thought it would be. So pretty! and So shiny! turned into So heavy! and So hard to move! Especially since I decided that counter space was more important than a convenient way to cream butter and sugar and moved the mixer to a bottom cabinet. And anyway, I discovered that I actually like doing by hand the things the Kitchenaid does so well. Half the point of making bread is the therapy involved in the kneading process—plus, the intense bicep workout is always appreciated.

Which is why I didn’t automatically pull out the old heifer when I decided to make cookies. I thought, I hardly ever make cookies, I should enjoy it, not rush through it and let a machine do all the work. But what I learned is that sometimes you should take help where you can get it. Because creaming butter and sugar by hand? Annoying and frustrating and ultimately not very fruitful. In the end, everything worked out, the cookies came together nicely, and I didn’t have to clean batter off the Kitchenaid. Still, next time, I’ll haul the hulking girl out of her hiding place.

Apple Almond-Butter Cookies

These are based on my favorite fall afternoon snack, crisp, juicy apple slices dipped in creamy, salty almond butter. Almond butter makes for a richer, smoother cookie than peanut butter, so smaller is better for these.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cornstarch

1/8 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp Earth Balance, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup creamy, salted almond butter

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp almond milk (add more for a less crumbly texture)

1/4 cup dried apples, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl. Cream togehter Earth Balance and sugars. Add flour mixture into butter mixture. Mix in almond butter, vanilla, and almond milk until well incorporated. Fold in apples. Drop tablespoon-size pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten with the tines of a fork. They don’t spread much, so you don’t need to leave too much room between cookies. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet until they are solid enough to move, then finish cooling on baking rack.

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