(Land O'Lakes premium European style unsalted butter); Rose added cornstarch to the flour for additional tenderness, and the combination of vanilla and almond flavorings is terrific. Oooh, they're lethal, though--so delicious and so tiny, it's very easy to convince yourself to have one every time you pass through the kitchen).
SO easy to make--just a few ingredients, all of them in the food processor, and the batter is mixed up in less than a minute. (I didn't time it, but it couldn't have been much longer). And, of course, you have to toast the almonds first.
I guess I totally ignored the instruction to buy blanched almonds. I like sliced almonds with the skins still on better than blanched almonds anyway, so it could have been a conscious decision, instead of what it was: a mistake that I was happy about.
So happy was I that I thought, well, why don't I try using my pastry bag? Some of you have heard me whinge about pastry bags for years. Even if you haven't heard me before, you couldn't be surprised to know that I don't like things that are just designed to make your life more difficult. Like some of the rest of you, I've started watch the Great British Bake Off, and one cannot help but be impressed by the home bakers' skills. And they always make their projects so dang cute! Often with the help of pastry bags, which they make look stodgily simple. I bet I got the word "stodgy" from those adorable Brits.
I decided that I would use just one kind of tip. Why aren't they labeled? How can I tell from looking at the tip which one is going to come out looking like a rose? And then I'd just use sparkling sugars and dragées. (When I was a kid, we were always warned not to eat dragées, because they were not meant for human consumption. Of course I did, and here I am to tell the story.
The dough mixed up very nicely and is ready to stuff into the pastry bag. I wonder if any of you are thinking, "Oh, I hope she doesn't try to put all the dough in at one time, or she'll have the devil of a time squeezing out the first cookies." That is very good advice, and I certainly wish I would have heard it. Also, I picked a large tip, more or less at random, and didn't know how it was supposed to come out.
Okay, so this is not exactly a rose, but it could pass for a flower-like thing, and maybe even a shrub rose. Sort of. After a while, Jim asked if he could try. "Oh, I suppose so," I sighed. I was very happy, though. I felt like Tom Sawyer letting the local boys whitewash Aunt Polly's fence.
I put on the colored sugar and the dragées, because somebody has to do the hard stuff.
Jim was very proud of this one.
They should, I believe, have just a hint of color. The trays I did for 9 minutes (5 minutes, turn tray, 4 more minutes) were just about perfect. The last tray, I inadvertently did 5 minutes, then 6 minutes. As you can see, they're not burned, but some of them are over-browned. Since they vary so much in brownness, I won't be able to put them on a cookie platter for guests, alas--we'll just have to eat them. Of course, I could always make another batch or two, now that I know Jim is so handy with the pastry bag. And we still have to find that elusive rose.