Chocolate almond shortbread

Second place: Betty Koenig Prep: 45 minutes Chill: 30 minutes Bake: 20 minutes Makes: 4 dozen cookies "I love that they're not too sweet, and they seem like they'd be a really good dunker," Angel Food Bakery owner and pastry chef Stephanie Samuels says of Betty Koenig's chocolate almond shortbread cookies. In testing, we found the dough rolled out better when chilled for at least 30 minutes. 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 cups flour 1 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup almond meal or very finely ground unblanched almonds 1 Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer. Add the vanilla and salt; beat or mix to blend. On low speed, add the flour, cocoa and almond meal, mixing well. 2 Divide into 3 pieces; wrap in plastic wrap and chill, 30 minutes. Roll out dough, one piece at a time, on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters; transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. 3 Bake, in batches if necessary, until slightly firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Cool on racks. Store in airtight containers. Can be frozen for months. Nutrition information per serving: 133 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 26 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune
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