Crunchy Orange-Almond Cookies (N'zuddi)

Makes about 3 dozen
  • 2 cups blanched whole almonds, divided
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 7 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let cool.

Set aside 36 almonds. Grind the remaining almonds to a coarse powder in a food processor or in small batches in a coffee grinder. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and sift in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, with a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar until blended. Beat the egg, then beat in the orange zest, juice, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the flour-almond mixture.

Pinch off a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a ball between the palms of your hands, and place 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten the balls to 1/2 inch thick under your palms, then gently coax the edges inward to create a loose square shape. Press a whole almond in the center of each cookie.

Bake the cookies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans, then cool on a rack. The cookies will become very crunchy as they cool.

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