Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lemon & Marcona Almond Cookies

The Marcona almond is recognizably different from other almond cultivars.  It's short, round and relatively sweet.  Although it's origin is unknown, it has been grown in Spain a very long time.  You will probably find them here in the United States, lightly tossed in sunflower oil and salt and it made the perfect accompaniment to the lemon chips I love so much from King Arthur Catalogue in this cookie I created today.

Also, I thought of Marcona almonds because it was our daughter, Kelly who was responsible for my addiction to this snack/treat that goes so well with a slice of Manchego cheese (also her fault:-D) after her first trip to Spain.  May is definitely a tough month for me with the anniversary of her death; my thoughts of her and everything she brought to my life becomes part of my day to day activities.

So, with that said...I have a special Give-Away in her honor.  Besides her loving nature, creativity and beautiful smile, she was also one of the most generous person I've ever known.  We often laughed that Kelly, who at times, lived paycheck to paycheck, would give someone her last dime because she felt they needed it more than she did.  She also inspired others, not only in her personal life, but in her professional.  She developed a course study in writing that centered around food and tradition for her students to apply to the readings she chose.  After her death, the University of Kentucky devoted a scholarship fund in her name to be given to the student who submits an essay honoring the qualities she practiced and how they apply them to their life.
 This beautiful Vera Bradley bag is my gift in her honor to someone who comments between today and May 14th.  It's perfect for your knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, or just a day at the beach--which was one of Kelly's favorite things to do.  Yes, I could have made one, but I also wanted to focus on the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, which has become my crusade as well.

The only rule is your comment should tie into a "food memory" as it relates to what the theme of the post is.  Today it's cookies with a special ingredient of marcona almonds, but over the next two weeks, it will run the gamut of baking.

Lemon & Marcona Almond Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup lightly brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 3/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup lemon bits

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together completely.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.  Add the vanilla and lemon extracts.

Add the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk, then, add them to the batter and mix to incorporate completely.  Add the almonds and lemon bits.

Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of dough and place them on the parchment paper, 2-inches apart.
 Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.  
 Soft, chewy, lemony and salty--what a wonderful combination for a snack or to give to your best friends as a gift.  That's what Kelly would do.  Enjoy!



  1. I became addicted to Marcona Almonds while traveling in Spain with my daughter, Amy, in 1992. We brought a supply home with us, but they didn't last long! I have since bought them at Whole Foods. I've never made anything with the almonds----they don't last long enough!! I know I would love these cookies and I think the lemon bits would make them even more delicious.
    Kelly was very unique---loving, generous, creative and so much fun to be with and I'm so thankful for the beautiful memories I have of our times together. The Vera Bradley bag is a lovely gift to honor Kelly and thank you for reminding us of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. We must find a cure for this insidious disease. You all are in my thoughts. Love, Barb

  2. Hello Susan...I have no idea of the pain for your loss, but I do know you are strong. As I said before...brave! To help with your feelings this month, I want you to know the apron is on it's way to the UK. Elaine at Pear Tree Log should be receiving it in a few days. We are so excited to share in this beautiful gift that came from you. I will comment at another time on my baking memories.

    1. Thank you Meggie...it does put a smile on my face, especially since Kelly "launched" me into blogging. I have so many beautiful friends and I do feel we're a family. XOXO

  3. OH WOW! Don't show Mom that bag - she loves that pattern! The VB Summer Patterns are always fun ones and that one - well...she loves it! So I won't show her this...he he he.
    When it comes to a food memory - well, I heard Mom talk and talk about lemon cookies her Grandma used to make - almost like Lemon Bars...since lemon was always sweet it too the longest time for Mom to realize that lemon's could be sour. One day she saw at a restaraunt (she was about 12) and decided since lemons go in cookies - then you can eat a lemon raw. OH - that made people laugh when she peeled the rind back and took a big bite! Almonds - YUM! We bet these are spectacular - just like you!

  4. Susan I had no idea about your daughter. I am so sorry--I can not imagine your pain. I have only been visiting your blog for a short time and I love it!
    Thinking of fond food memories is a vast one for me as our family never got together without eating! Macaroni and Cheese has to be a long time favorite of my family history--I remember my Nanny making it! It's the baked one with eggs in it and brings me back to our dining room table at home as a child!
    Martha Ellen

    1. Martha Ellen, Mac & Cheese is a staple with my grands so I know the importance of its comfort. My mother also added tomatoes to ours, which makes me yearn for some right now. Once, when Kelly had an "overnight" with her best friend, she came home so excited..."Mom," she said, "did you know that you can get Mac & Cheese in a box." All I said was..."not the kind from the heart!" I'm sure you will agree;-) XOXO

  5. Ah, almonds...I am from a family that were almond ranchers in Central California for 3 generations. Almonds (we pronouce them ammons, short 'a') run deep in food and family memories. I remember every Christmas opening packages of almonds and walnuts (my great uncles were walnut growers) never really knowing their value or rarety (in those days...). My mother always blanched some for us and especially for my dad. These from Spain are the closest I've ever found to home made blanched almonds. I love these from Spain and get them at Costco when I can. I eat almonds almost every single day and ALWAYS have them when folks come over to have with a cocktail before dinner. It's also funny because I have to think about how to pronounce them when I order something...Like my new favorite, once-a-week, breakfast: almond croissant. When the shipments stopped coming, I remember my supermarket shock at their value! We were very fortunate, indeed, to come from such a generous family. A very big month-long hug to you, my dear friend. lv, me.

  6. Almonds were also a favorite of my mother's. I can't even begin to count how many pounds of Jordan Almonds she bought! I keep them on hand to snack on beside baking with just like you. Thank you for the hug...it certainly helps. XOXO

  7. Sorry for your loss and the hard month that comes with it. One of my favorite food memories is of bacon and potato soup. My grandpa would stay in the sheep wagon on the farm during the lambing season. I loved to go and have dinner with him and he usually made me bacon and potato soup (and creamed peas). Try as I may, I have never been able to duplicate his soup. He was my favorite person in the world and I just adored him. He had lilac bushes lining one side of his property and would bring me fresh cut lilacs in the summer. Lilacs are still my favorite smelling flower to this day. I know the last memory isn't food related, but I couldn't resit. :) Thanks for letting me share my memories.