Flo Braker's Pains D’Amande

By • December 9, 2011 44 Comments

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Author Notes: A crisp almond cookie for all your holiday gifting, swapping, and impressing needs, from Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker (Chronicle Books, 2000).Genius Recipes

Makes about 7 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/3 cups (325 grams) unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into quarters
  • 1 1/3 cups (280 grams) Hawaiian washed raw sugar (or turbinado or demerara -- see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 ounces (1 cup) sliced almonds
  1. Sift the flour and baking soda onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
  2. In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Stir occasionally just until the butter melts. Do not allow the mixture to boil. David Lebovitz recommends not letting the sugar melt thoroughly -- the crunchy bits make for wonderful texture in the cookie. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds. Pour this mixture into a 3-quart mixing bowl; set aside for about 30 minutes at room temperature until lukewarm, about 90 degrees F.
  3. Add the dry ingredients all at once; stir thoroughly until blended.
  4. Press the soft dough into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan, preferably straight-sided (such as a 1 1/2 quart Pyrex loaf pan) lined with plastic wrap. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  5. Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large cool baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Lift out the firm dough from the pan onto a cutting board. For larger cookies, simply slice as thinly as you can, crosswise. For smaller cookies, cut dough in half crosswise and then cut the halves lengthwise into thirds. Using a sharp knife, cut each bar into 1/8-inch or thinner slices, and space them 1/4 inch apart on the baking sheets. (The dough slices as though it were fudge.) You can use a sawing action with a serrated knife in order to cut through the nuts to make very thin slices.
  7. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the undersides are light golden; then turn cookies over and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp and honey-colored. Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Lift cookies from parchment when cool.
  8. Stack cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature up to 10 days.
  9. Note: Hawaiian washed raw sugar is available in supermarkets in 2-pound plastic bags. If you cannot locate it, you can substitute turbinado or demerara.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Cookies

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Comments (44) Questions (5)


over 1 year ago Camilla

A chilli added to the mixture takes this recipe to another level - am going to try adding lavender next - thanks for posting!


almost 2 years ago Lunadalutti

Besides the fact they're delicious, I have to mention that these cookies pretty much saved a man's life. My uncle was undergoing a very tough health treatment for Hepatitis C, and the meds simply ruined his appetite. He literally could not ingest anything at all for 2 days after his shots, and would eat tiny portions of a very restricted array of foods he could barely stand to swallow. But then he had a go and tried these cookies. That's the only thing he would eat with some pleasure. So thank you for sharing!!! Really!!!!


almost 2 years ago Ashley Marie

That's a beautiful story! I hope your Uncle is doing well!


8 months ago Lunadalutti

Hi Ashley! The good news is that my uncle beat the Hep and now presents a zero viral count. And has resumed his life, teaching, surfing and playing guitar. Every year when I bake these for the holidays I think of him, and of you! Have a lovely year!


over 2 years ago Hilarybee

I wrote about this on the hotline, but I used the cookies more like crackers, and served them with a cheese plate. Brie, goat cheese with honey and cracked pink pepper; a stilton with lemon zest. It was a really nice course.


over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Such a great idea -- how did you modify the cookie recipe to make it more savory? Thank you!


over 2 years ago student epicure

Yum! Just made these after letting them freeze overnight. They are the perfect cookie to go with tea, as they get all nice and crisp and are delicious dunked in a cup of Earl Grey. I appreciated the sugary-buttery simplicity, but think the recipe would make a delightful base for my adventurous flavors.


over 2 years ago Sarag

Oh my goodness. I made them g-f, with vanilla and salt, no cinnamon. Fantastic. Cannot stop eating them.


over 2 years ago weshook

Just baked these up for a bakesale. I've been wanting to try them and finally got around to making them. Mixed up the dough before work this morning and pulled them out of the refrigerator to bake this evening. Came together perfectly--perhaps because I didn't have time to over mix. I think that I will freeze the dough next time so I can slice thinner and add a hint of salt to temoer the sweetness. Delicious!


over 2 years ago mknubel

I made a cookie similar to this years ago from a Martha Stewart recipe, and she spoke to the crumbling dough issue. It comes from over mixing and overhandling of the dough. The second the dough comes together, stop mixing it and press it together with as few motions as possible, the pressing actually finishes the mixing process. My first batch of these were crumbly, but my second and third batches got better as I learned how to (not) handle the dough.


almost 3 years ago Chef Neen

Has anyone tried adding amaretto or almond extract to enhance the almond flavor?


almost 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes, it's great! Also, toast the almond slices first.


almost 3 years ago brooklynite

I made a batch using the original recipe, and like lots of reviewers, thought it could use some zip. My next batch was done with orange blossom water, cardamom to replace the cinnamon, and a dash of salt--delicious! I've got some uncrystallized candied ginger now, and am thinking of adding that. Any suggestions on what to use to replace the cinnamon? I have in the house: vanilla, almond, and lemon extracts, lemon zest, fresh and ground ginger. Or would anything beyond the candied ginger be too much?


about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Last night, my husband asked me to buy chocolate graham crackers to have in the house for a snack with coffee. (Seriously, do you think he was trying to get me to bake something? Because it doesn't take much for me to get out the mixing bowls and the parchment.) I remembered this recipe and thought I could modify it. After reading all the comments, I decided to add 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and vanilla to the batter. I also don't like cinnamon that much, but I like it with other spices, so I used Chinese 5-spice powder instead. And I added 3/4 cup of dutch process cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. The cookies are great. And I say this with some dismay, because I don't usually eat much of what I bake, and I can't stop eating these. I used a very sharp Santoku knife and had no issue with crumbling. (I also weighed the flour rather than doing volume measurement.) The salt and vanilla extract (as well as the cocoa) really amped up the flavor. I sprinkled a few with cinnamon and sugar also, and that was good too! And because this makes so many cookies, I have a brick of dough in the freezer for the next time someone pops over. Thanks so much for finding this recipe, Kristen, and to Rivka for recommending it--it is going to be a family favorite.


about 3 years ago Vid mom

look delicious...my guess is you can roll them into logs as well? Can't wait to try !


over 3 years ago MaryMaryCulinary

I finally got around to making these and it was worth the wait! I replaced the cinnamon with cardamom and had no problems with crumbling dough. I sliced a few cookies too thick, and they were downright hard, but the thin ones are fantastic.


over 3 years ago DanaYares

These are DELICIOUS!!! Even my husband who is a strict chewy chocolate cookie eater loves these. THis dough could easily be made ahead and frozen and cut as needed.



over 3 years ago msgruvn

1st time i followed recipe exactly--froze 1/2 and baked wks later. this time i added 1/2 c almonds, 1/2 c coconut, and 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ginger and 1/8 t ea nutmeg and cloves.....wonderful! sort of like the windmill cookies i had as a kid. i put it in the freezer for 1/2 hr to make it easier to slice really thin.


over 3 years ago Panfusine

Have a batch made with almond, Pistachio & orange zest baking right now!


over 3 years ago Aliwaks

Made these with a little change in recipe, I somehow left my sliced almonds somewhere and used 2
Cups toasted sesame seeds because that was all I had on hand and they were awesome! Very similar to Benne Wafers, now that I have once again located the tub of almonds going to try again and use them as a garnish for poached pears w chocolate ganache.


over 3 years ago Cookie!

Made these for the first time for Christmas Eve dinner - an absolutely wonderful recipe that looked and tasted spectacular. A keeper for sure!


over 3 years ago sabele

I made these over the weekend and they were a big hit with the visiting family; I had no problems with crumbling.

My only comment would be that the cookies should be sliced as thin as possible. I sliced the first tray's worth at 1/8" and they were definitely too thick and didn't have the right texture. The next time I tried just to sliver off the dough (and dreamt of having a meat slicer) and they were perfect! The slices definitely curled as they came off the main part, but they came out great. The catch is that I had to sacrifice a bit of the batter at the end of the loaf because I couldn't slice it without including my fingers...


over 3 years ago sweetonion

I am afraid of baking and these cookies have made me a member of the "making cookies for Christmas gifts" club. Thank you. I am beginning to get feedback and it's all good! I followed recipe and used a big wonderful serrated knife. No problems at all. I am thinking of experimenting by dipping half of a cooled cookie in chocolate for a change, but this cookie is really a winner for me.


over 3 years ago Sarah Stone

Cooking time on silicone sheets (Silpat) was 8-10 minutes each side, no different from that recommended for baking these cookies on parchment. I agree with other reviewers who find the flavor of these understated crisps just a bit too simple. A sprinkling of kosher salt on the top before baking helps cut the too-sweetness. If I make them again, I'll omit the cinnamon and try adding vanilla extract.