December 23, 2020 at 6:22 pm #27953BakerAuntParticipant
This is a doubled recipe, so it can easily be halved. It makes about 80 cookies, using a Zeroll #40 scoop. A slightly smaller scoop would give a greater yield. Marliss Desens found this recipe in a request column of the Los Angeles Times food section over thirty years ago, but she has adjusted the ingredients and re-written the directions to reflect how she bakes them.
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. anise extract
4 cups AP flour (I use King Arthur)
1.2 tsp black pepper (I use freshly ground)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. cardamom (I crush the seeds fresh)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 cups coarsely ground almonds (I like to use whole unblanched and use my food processor)
1 cup candied citron (cut the pieces if large)
Powdered sugar for coating
Let butter soften with sugar in large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine flour, spices, and baking soda. Toss in the citron.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and blend well. Mix in lemon peel and anise extract. In two additions, add flour mixture until combined. Add ground almonds and mix to combine. It will be thick, so you may need to finish by hand.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Using a Zeroll #40 scoop (or size of your choice) place scoops of dough on to parchment-lined baking sheet. (I usually bake about 20 at a time on a large baking sheet. You do not want to bake too many at a time, because they need their coating when they come warm from the oven.)
Bake on rack slightly above center for 12-14 minutes, turning rack halfway through the time. While the tray is cooking, place about ¾ cup powdered sugar in a bag. Cool cookies briefly on a rack, then shake a couple at a time in sugar and place on rack set over waxed paper (to make clean-up easier).
Store cooled cookies in tightly covered container. They will keep a long time, but the sugar may absorb into the cookie; you can always shake them in additional sugar before serving. These cookies last a long time; the spices merge together even more as they age.
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