These Chocolate Almond Horseshoe Cookies are a fun and a delicious treat for the holidays!
It’s hard to beat a classic butter cookie…especially during the holidays. But dip that cookie in chocolate and then sprinkle it with toasted almonds? Ok, maybe that wins!
I was in the mood to bake some cookies the other day, and I wanted to create some butter cookies similar to those Danish butter cookies that show up in huge tins about this time every year. On a side note, the ring-shaped cookies with the ridges are my favorite. Whenever a mixed tin of Danish butter cookies shows up, you can pretty much count on those ring cookies to be the first ones to disappear. (Apparently, they are called ‘vanille kranse’ or ‘vanilla wreaths’ in Denmark.)
So I’m sure the companies that make these Danish butter cookies have a big machine that extrudes the dough into rings or wreaths. I don’t have such a machine. My wife is a scientist, and she plays with machines that extrude metal. I asked her if I could borrow one of those machines to make cookies. She just looked at me and walked away. Ok, so my backup plan? Pull out the pastry bag and stick a large French star tip on the end. Wouldn’t you know it, but that method worked pretty well!
As you guys know, we live in upstate New York near Saratoga Springs. Saratoga is a quaint town, and the it’s even been included on the list of America’s Best Main Streets. Saratoga is a horse racing town. Track season runs from late July through Labor Day, and the town is literally buzzing with horse racing excitement. (In case you missed it, American Pharoah raced in Saratoga this year…and lost. The whole town was stunned.)
A couple months ago, my sister and niece came up to visit for a long weekend. We took little Blakely apple picking one morning, but I think the highlight of the trip was her visit to the track in Saratoga. We didn’t realize it, but apparently she has a serious love of horses. She’d hang on to the fence and watch the horses parade by, and then we’d head over and watch the race. She’d literally go from crying to overjoyed when she saw the horses come around the bend onto the backstretch.
In honor of Blakely’s love for horses, I decided not to close the ring for these Chocolate Almond Horseshoe Cookies. Instead, I just left the ends open in the shape of a horseshoe. And since we all know that chocolate makes everything better, I spread a bit of melted chocolate on the ends of the horseshoe. A sprinkling of chopped almonds finished off these cookies.
Have you ever been to Saratoga?
More importantly, can you build me a machine that extrudes cookie dough?
Chocolate Almond Horseshoe Cookies
For the Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Chocolate
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chopped
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on medium speed).
- Add the remaining ingredients (powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, egg yolk and flour). Mix on low speed until a stiff dough forms.
- Transfer dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a large French star tip. (I used an Ateco #827 tip.)
- Pipe 6” strips of dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. (Note: Leave enough room to “bend” cookies into horseshoes in the next step.)
- Carefully bend each cookie to create a horseshoe shape.
- Place sheet pan in the refrigerator for ~30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Bake at 325°F for 26-28 minutes, or until edges of cookies turn light brown. Let cookies cool fully before dipping.
For the Chocolate
- Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has fully melted.
- Meanwhile, place the sliced almonds in a clean skillet. Place over medium-low heat and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent almonds from burning.
- Once cookies have cooled, use an offset spatula to spread melted chocolate onto ends of the cookies.
- Coarsely chop toasted almonds and sprinkle on top of melted chocolate. Let chocolate set before serving (~20 minutes).