Natalie of Good Girl Style is back today to share a cookie that’s one of her favorites, and one of mine: the almond horn. Oh yeah, and it’s chocolate dipped. Natalie joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just good old-fashioned butter, sugar, chocolate, cream, and almonds. Don’t miss her most recent posts, about Lemon Bars and Peanut Butter Eggs.
You’ve probably enjoyed these fancy treats at your favorite (expensive) bakery.
But you can make them at home for a fraction of the price. Almond paste off the shelf is quite pricey (and most likely not gluten-free), but grab a 1 ½ cup bag of blanched slivered almonds from the baking aisle for under $3, and you can easily make your own. And, don’t let that little DIY scare you off! These delightful almond cookies have a few steps, yes, but they come together easily and are worth the extra bit of effort. Plus, you’ll be able to say you made almond paste and almond horns from scratch…your friends are sure to be impressed!
Gluten-Free Almond Horns with Chocolate Glaze
To grind the almonds, pulse them in a food processor, but be sure not to grind so much they become paste if what you’re going for is powder! Also, note on your shopping list that you need two kinds of almonds: blanched slivered, for grinding, and sliced unblanched (skin-on) for decorating the outsides of the cookies.
For the Almond Paste:
1 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds, divided (see below)
1/4 cup light agave nectar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the Almond Horns:
1 recipe gluten-free almond paste (recipe above)
3 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds ground into a fine powder (leftover from above)
2 egg whites, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups sliced unblanched almonds
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons light agave nectar
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Make the almond paste: Place the 1 ½ cups almonds in a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Measure out 1 cup and pour the rest in a small bowl (set it aside). Return the 1 cup to the food processor. Add the agave nectar, butter, and almond extract. Process for 5-10 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor, until a thick, smooth, but sticky paste forms. Transfer the paste to a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a log, and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.
When chilled, make the almond horns: place the almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, and beat a few times to break it up a bit. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and beat lightly. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the egg whites and add to the paste, mixing well. Add the sugar, as well as 3 tablespoons of almond powder from the bowl where you reserved the extra. Mix well, scraping down the sides.
Pour the slivered unblanched almonds onto a plate or into a shallow, wide bowl. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture into six balls, rolling each one in the sliced almonds, using the almonds to coat the sticky dough so you can shape each ball into a log. Transfer each almond-coated log to a parchment-lined baking sheet, shaping into a crescent once on the sheet. Repeat until you have six almond horns.
Let the almond horns rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Then use a pastry brush or paper towel to brush the horns with the reserved egg white. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool completely on the sheet (cookies are fragile when warm).
Make the glaze: in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, and agave nectar together. Stir in the heavy cream. Dip half or both ends of the cooled cookies in chocolate and let set on a rack.