Murano bead cookies

By Annegret Henninger
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When I got into pastry school, and I was waiting for school to start, I went on my own to Italy to explore the country and the food.  I loved Amoretti cookies which are almond-based cookies, and was fascinated by the glass blowing on the Island of Murano just off of Venice, so I used Becel’s “Anything Goes” recipe to create almond cookies that reminded me of the Murano beads that I would see all over Venice.

All you do is add ground almonds, almond extract and some extra sugar to the “Anything Goes” dough, and then divide the dough in half.  You add food colouring to half the dough – or beet juice if you want something natural – and then start your assembly.  

YIELDS
45 BEADS
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

Anything Goes cookie dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Becel® Original margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling, about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds (almond meal)
  • 48 drops red food coloring
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped almonds

Directions

Note: when working with ground almonds, it is important to mix the dough as little as possible, so that the fat does not get massaged out of the almonds and overwhelm your dough/batter/mixture.

 

  1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. With a spatula, mix the ground almonds, almond extract, and sugar into the Anything Goes cookie dough recipe. Mix only until just combined.
  3. Put aside 1/4 of dough to freeze.
  4. Then split the dough into two portions, and add the red food coloring to one half of the dough. Again, mix only until just combined.
  5. Either make your own pattern, or roll each portion of dough into 7x5 centimeter long tubes and then line them up: red, natural, red, natural etc. With your hands, press and then roll them together so that you have a long tube with lines of red and ‘natural’ running through it. Split the tube into three segments, so that you can more easily roll each piece out to a 2.5 centimeter thick tube.
  6. Brush the tube with egg white.
  7. Place chopped almonds evenly on an empty tray and place the extra sugar for rolling on another tray. Roll the tube of cookie dough over the almonds, while gently pressing so that the almonds stick to the tube.  Then roll it over the sugar so that it sticks to any cookie dough that is still exposed.
  8. With a knife, cut the tube into one centimeter thick pieces, and place on baking trays, 2.5 centimeters apart.
  9. Bake at 400F for four to six minutes.
  10. Cookies will be set on the outside and soft in the middle.  Let cool on a wire rack.

 

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