I started my Christmas baking yesterday. Bake and freeze will be my motto for the next month! I developed this cookie using one of my very favorite shortbread cookie recipes and fell in LOVE with the combo. I wanted to share. This recipe is neither WW friendly nor low in fat or calories...but I believe, there is room in everyone's diet for a little indulgence now and then. I am not going to work out the nutritional stats for this recipe either. Just give you the ingredients and the directions. They are rich and intended to be enjoyed in moderation!
Last year, I made Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies and they were such a hit! I absolutely adored working with the silky smooth dough that came together like magic. This year, I decided to do a couple of variations on that cookie and the "Almond Joy" Shortbread Cookie was born! It doesn't actually have the candy bar in it, it just borrows those flavors: coconut, chocolate and almonds. Nestled into the shortbread cookie itself is the coconut. It is dipped into melted chocolate and then sprinkled with roasted almonds. I also made a rum and toasted coconut version...but you will have to wait for that recipe! ;) Wait no longer!!! find the recipe for Toasted Coconut Rum Shortbread Cookies HERE!
My family was split between which variation they liked better...and what I think it boiled down to was whether you are an Almond Joy fan or not! These cookies would make a great addition to your cookie menu this year!
Almond Joy Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies
Yield: approx. 2 1/2 doz. cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar, that has been whizzed in the food processor for 30 seconds
1/4 tsp. salt
16 TBS unsalted butter, at cool room temperature ( 2 sticks cut into 8 pcs each )
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp imitation coconut flavoring
2 TBS ( 1 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature ( I used light)
1/2 cup shredded coconut, that has been whizzed in food processor for 30 seconds
1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips, or similar melting chocolate
1 cup sliced and roasted almonds
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment on, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Let mix on low speed until combined. With mixer running on low, drop butter in by TBS one piece at at time until all butter is incorporated and the mixture looks slightly wet and crumbly. Add in the vanilla, coconut flavoring, and the cream cheese. Mix on low until it comes together into a smooth ball. ( it will...like magic!) Add in the coconut until just combined.
3. With hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. With palm of hand, flatten each ball into a disc. Bake one batch at a time in oven until lightly browned on bottoms, about 12 minutes. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool.
4. Melt the chocolate in microwave at 50% - 70% power or over a double boiler on stove. If you are using chips, you might want to add a little shortening to loosen up the chocolate. Dip or spread the melted chocolate on the tops of the cookies then sprinkle with a bit of the almonds. ( you may not use all the chocolate or the almonds) Allow chocolate to set before storing. These cookies freeze well.
As I said, these cookies were a huge hit! You can't really feel the texture of the coconut in the cookie, but you can taste the flavor. I am kind of glad I got a start on this baking chore I have this year! I've been hired to do some cookie gifts and I didn't want to wait and be stressed the last minute. Shortbread cookies do freeze wonderfully. They were a good one to start with!
My WW meeting today was good! It focused on having a plan for Thanksgiving. I always do better with a plan, so I gave it some thought and formulated a plan for the day. This should help me stay true to my goals. I will be allowing myself ONE treat on that day and making half my plate full of vegetables. This will be easy, as I am the one in charge of the sides. I am planning on doing three veggies this year, along with a raw veggie tray for mindless noshing. I also intend to get a walk in at some point during the day, even if it is a short one. Do you have a plan for next Thursday?