The mere mention of Almond Mice conjures a nostalgic yearning for the excitement of winter and my mother’s baking.
Christmas always yielded a guarantee of three things: shortbread cookies dotted with a quartered maraschino cherry, butter tarts, and almond mice. My mother was sure to bake Almond Mice, which has no parallel when eaten still warm from the oven. (Although may I state my mother’s butter tarts are also without peer, but that recipe shall be for another day.)
Today I choose to share a joy from my childhood and my mother’s recipe box…. and hope that it brings you a taste of joy as well.
Add flour, stirring until butter becomes fine chunks, then add almond paste to combine.
Form little fingers (I recommend using 1 heaping teaspoon or 2 level teaspoons of dough)
Bake at 300F for 10-15 minutes.
While still warm, roll in a plate of icing sugar and set aside.
Now, almond paste is ~ in a way ~ deceptively easy to make, provided you have a food processor or buy blanched, ground almonds ahead of time. If you have access to a food processor and whole almonds, I would still recommend the effort. A skip over to Modern Mom will show that almonds are easy to blanch before grinding. (I only wish I’d come across this link earlier!) If you don’t mind the look, perhaps skip that step, as I did for my first batch of cookies. (I do admit, when finished I was wistful for aesthetics.)
To make almond paste, I decided that Food52 offered the most concise recipe, as follows:
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp almond extract
In a food processor, process the almonds until finely ground, about 1 minute. They’ll likely clump together because of the oils in the nut. Add the rest of the ingredients. Process the mixture together for another minute or so until well-combined.
Empty the contents onto a surface dusted with confectioner’s sugar and form the clump into a log shape. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm. At this point, the almond paste is ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.