Jillian Turek of Laurel says her favorite holiday cookies were always the Mexican wedding cookies that her grandmother, Hazel Tuley, made. Then while studying abroad, in Vienna, Turek "was introduced to the gloriousness that is almond paste." She decided to incorporate almond flavors into a wedding cookie, which are making their debut in her holiday-cookie lineup this year.
Makes 3 dozen cookies
1 cup margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for rolling
6 ounces almond paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
In a large bowl, beat margarine, powdered sugar, and almond paste on medium-low speed until creamy, then stir in the extract until combined. Mix flours and salt together in a medium bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the margarine in batches and beat on low until just combined. Stir in the almonds and mix until dough can form a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Once chilled, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheet for another 2 minutes (they should be brown on the bottom) before rolling the cookie in a bowl of powdered sugar and transferring to a cooling rack. Re-roll the cookies in powdered sugar once completely cool and store in a tin with extra powdered sugar.