Reader’s Recipes: Almond Lace Wafers ~ these delicate crispy wafer cookies are also gluten free. Dip them in chocolate or leave them plain, they’re always a hit!
Hi all — welcome to my Reader’s Recipes series of holiday cookies. I’m going to be sharing YOUR family recipes here on Saturdays from now until the New Year. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in recipes for me to try!
Today’s recipe for beautiful Almond Lace Wafers was sent in by Donna, who lives in Carmel Indiana. This was her mom’s recipe, and it’s been a beloved Christmas tradition for her since she was a child. I hear it again and again in your emails to me, these cookie recipes that you send in represent treasured holiday memories, and the ritual of making of them year after year is an important part of your lives. Like all of the other cookies I’ve shared, these are incredibly delicious, too, and I have a feeling that after this post there’ll be a lot more people out there who’ll want to incorporate them into their own holidays.
In her note to me, Donna called these cookies “fragile, beautiful, and delicious.” I couldn’t describe them better. They have a lovely almond toffee flavor, with a snappy crispness. The batter is very thin and spreads out in the oven to make the lacy appearance. They flat cookies are cooled for a minute, then rolled around the handle of a wooden spoon to form little tubes. The toffee candy flavor and crunch comes from the butter and sugar caramelizing in the oven.
While the recipe calls for grinding almonds I used my Trader Joe’s almond meal and it worked great. It’s a nice thing to have around for holiday baking, and I keep it in the fridge to preserve the freshness longer, because nut meals can spoil quickly. Using the pre-ground almonds really makes this cookie a snap to put together.
The rolling of the fresh-from-the-oven cookies was surprisingly easy and not as fussy as I’d feared. You’ll need the handle of a wooden spoon, or something similar, to roll the warm cookies around. They cool down and hold their shape immediately so you can move right on to the next.
Donna says her mother was of Swedish heritage, and that makes sense since these cookies are definitely Scandinavian in origin. You can leave them flat if you don’t want to roll them, and I couldn’t resist dipping a few of them in a little dark chocolate.
I was really happy with this recipe, but I guess I should expect that by now, every cookie in this series has been a slam dunk. In the past I’ve had lace cookies that were either too delicate, or too greasy, but these were just perfect. They’re thick enough to hold together and have some body but still incredibly light and crisp.
Thanks so much for sharing these with us Donna <3
- 3/4 cup grated un-blanched almonds (use blender, nut grater, or food processor - do not
- grind into powder, but leave a bit crunchy)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp flour (use a gluten free flour mix, or oat flour if you like)
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream or evaporated milk
- 1 Tbsp whole milk
- Set oven to 350F
- Grease and flour 2 cookie sheets.
- Grate almonds, then measure 3/4 cup into a saucepan.
- Mix in all remaining ingredients.
- Cook over low heat until butter melts, stirring constantly. Batter is very thin.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet, only 5-6 at a time as batter will spread.
- Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until a light caramel color, with centers still bubbly. Watch very carefully so as not to overbrown.
- Let cool for 1 minute, then immediately transfer, UPSIDE DOWN, to waxed paper.
- Working quickly, immediately roll each cookie quickly around the handle of a wooden spoon, forming a loose cylinder. If cookies start to harden, return to oven for 1 minute to soften.
- Allow to cool.
- Get everything organized before starting because it’s a quick process with steps that need to be done promptly. Locate a wooden spoon with a slender handle, even a round chopstick would work.
- Prepping the baking sheets is key — be sure to grease or spray them, and then dust with flour. I re-dusted with flour a couple of times. I did try my silicone mat but it did not work as well as the greasing and dusting, fyi.
- While it sounds a little bit hectic to have to remove the cookies at exactly the right time, let them cool for a minute, then flip and roll them, all before they harden, I found it was really easy and problem free. The warmth of the cookie sheet keeps the cookies pliable enough while you roll them, I never had to put them back into the oven to soften.
- I think it could be easily made gluten free by substituting gluten free flour for the 1 tablespoon of regular flour.
- You can substitute other varieties of ground nuts for the almonds, I think pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts would be great. You can also make these with oatmeal!
- For chocolate dipping, put a cup of chocolate chips in a pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Zap for a few more seconds if necessary. Dip half of the cookie into the chocolate, shake off excess, and lay on parchment to firm up. It helps to put them in the refrigerator.
Don’t forget to pin these delicate Almond Lace Wafers!