Autumn – Almond Butter Cookies – And Criss Crossed Lines

This world is filled with lines that cross. Everywhere. In a myriad of ways. Lines of communication, lineage of families. Branches of trees making up a forest. Tic Tac Toe.

tic tac toe in aspen forest

Lines, highways, rivers and streets. Words on a page. Prayers criss cross and tumble over each other on the wind – for our lives, to connect to each other with compassion, and peace, with plenty for all. This image leapt out, into my heart, on the way to Telluride Sunday. I was struck by the crossing, curving lines of Tibetan prayer flags. Those long lines of tradition.

prayers criss crossing on the wind – outside of Telluride, Colorado

And then, there are these lines of sweetness. Childhood memories, helping in the kitchen, forks in hand, baking peanut butter cookies. Adult memories as a mom myself, making them with my son. What a traditional cookie! I wanted to find out how traditional. Wikipedia says:

“Peanut Butter Cookie – History

George Washington Carver (1864-1943), an American agricultural extension educator, from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, was the most well known promoter of the peanut as a replacement for the cotton crop, which had been heavily damaged by the boll weevil. He compiled 105 peanut recipes from various cookbooks, agricultural bulletins and other sources. In his 1916 Research Bulletin called How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption, he included three recipes for peanut cookies calling for crushed/chopped peanuts as an ingredient.[2] It was not until the early 1920s that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient in the cookies.

The early peanut butter cookies were rolled thin and cut into shapes. They were also dropped and made into balls. They did not have fork marks. The first reference to the famous criss-cross marks created with fork tines was published in the Schenectady Gazette on July 1, 1932. The Peanut Butter Cookies recipe said “Shape into balls and after placing them on the cookie sheet, press each one down with a fork, first one way and then the other, so they look like squares on waffles.” Pillsbury, one of the large flour producers, popularized the use of the fork in the 1930s. The Peanut Butter Balls recipe in the 1933 edition of Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes instructed the cook to press the cookies using fork tines. The 1932 or 1933 recipes do not explain why this advice is given, though: peanut butter cookie dough is dense, and without being pressed, it will not cook evenly. Using a fork to press the dough is a convenience; bakers can also use a cookie shovel.” Shovel?? Well, in my kitchen, it’s first the criss:

making the traditional criss cross pattern

Then the cross:

completing the criss cross

My son and daughter in law were coming to visit this past weekend, and this favorite cookie popped into my mind. I’d created variations of course for my gluten free diet and friends, and fun tweaks to keep things interesting. So I made almond butter cookies….

fragrant almonds…

more cookies!

ready to pop the almond butter cookies into the oven

And twelve minutes later:

12 minutes later

Almond Butter Cookies

  •  3/4 c. almond (or other) nut butter — peanut, naturally, and try cashew butter, too…
  • 1/4 c. sweet butter (or quality margarine if you like a vegan cookie)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract ( try orange extract, too, yum)
  • 2 c. gluten free flour (See just below) Note! Cookie recipe performs well with wheat or spelt flours, too)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg (or 1/4 c. cold water if you like a vegan cookie)

Gluten Free Flour Blend  – from a Guide to Gluten Free Living
I have found with this blend you achieve great results. I recommend using 1/4 c. more flour in recipes you are preparing which normally take wheat flour, as batters will be a thinner consistency. Or a little less liquid. In experimenting with a new recipe, pouring in 3/4 as much liquid, blending, and judging how it looks has been a good way to work. *Sometimes I will use straight quinoa flour and this makes a lovely cookie!
3 c. sorghum or brown rice flour
3 c. cornstarch/potato starch
2 c. tapioca flour
1 c. yellow corn flour

Preheat oven to 350. Beat nut butter and butter with brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla. Mix in baking powder, salt and flour and beat thoroughly. Add egg or water, mixing well. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Bake 12 – 15 minutes, until a light golden brown. Press cookie balls with a fork to flatten on cookie sheet before baking. Bake 12 – 14 minutes, or just until a light golden brown.

Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies

Plus Delectable Variations:

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

  • 1 c. sweet butter (or quality margarine if you like a vegan cookie)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c. unbleached flour, wheat, spelt or gluten free blend
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg (or 1/4 c. cold water if you like a vegan cookie)
  • 1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts, or other favorite nut
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  • 1 c. oatmeal

Follow above directions, rolling dough into balls, then just slightly flattening with hand or bottom of a glass on the cookie sheet before baking.

Long’s Peak Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Another variation, very festive.

  • Add 1/4 c. Ghiradelli (or other unsweetened) cocoa powder to butter or margarine and brown sugar, blending well.
  • Stir in 1 tsp. peppermint oil or extract.
  • Omit nuts, coconut and oatmeal.

When cookies are cool, toss several at a time in a bowl of powdered sugar, if desired. Tap off excess sugar, and pile high on a plate to serve.

San Juans in the snow – photo by A. Miliani 9/25/12

6 thoughts on “Autumn – Almond Butter Cookies – And Criss Crossed Lines

    • A very simple recipe – perfect for making with children or when you just need easy! Of course, you could also serve these little cookies with Amaretto and allspice poached pears, homemade creme fraiche and a cup of good espresso,….

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