Cookie Calendar: Holiday Bonbons


Frankly, that's enough to sell me on any cookie. I have a deep and abiding love for this sweetened paste made from bitter almonds, rivaled only by my love for buttery toffee.

As soon as I stumbled upon the recipe for Holiday Bonbons in my King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, I knew they were on my list for the upcoming Christmas baking season. No doubt an eerie glow of greed haunted my eyes from the moment I picked up the marzipan log in the store until I baked the cookies themselves.

Alas, not every recipe can live up to such lofty expectations. While Holiday Bonbons are a tasty cookie (and one that my husband gobbled up speedily), they're not quite as overpoweringly delicious as biting straight into the leftover marzipan.

But they're sure a great excuse to have some leftover marzipan.

My cookies turned out a little too large the last time I made them. Unfortunately, the recipe offers only visual sizing guidelines, no specific weight or volume measurements. However, it does specify that you should end up with precisely 27 cookies. If I make these again this year, I will use my bench knife to divvy up the dough before rolling it, much like I did with yesterday's Jam Thumbprints.

Need a little help with that technique?

Ideally, you would use a scale, set to measure in grams, to ensure accurate division, but if you feel confident eyeballing your dough, then dive right in.

  • Form the dough into an even log and divide it into thirds (3 pieces).
  • Even out each pieces, then divide each third into thirds (9 pieces).
  • Repeat the previous step to end up with 27 pieces of cookie dough.

Use the same procedure on your filling to ensure you have enough to go around.

Holiday Bonbons
Source: The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Yield: 27 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1½ cups (6 ounces) confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon salt
2½ cups (10½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup (4½ ounces) almond paste, praline paste, or marzipan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¹⁄₈ teaspoon almond oil, or ½ teaspoon almond extract (omit if you use praline paste)
¼ cup (1 ounce) confectioners' sugar (omit if you use marzipan)
½ cup (1¹⁄₈ ounce) soft, fresh bread crumbs

1¼ cups (7½ ounces) chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (1³⁄₈ ounce) light corn syrup
Sliced almonds for topping, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the butter until light. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until fluffy. Add the flour and stir until a firm dough forms.

3. To make the filling: Crumble the almond paste into a small bowl. Beat in the butter, almond oil, and sugar. When the mixture is smooth, add the bread crumbs and mix until blended.

4. To shape the cookies: Roll the filling into grape-sized balls. Break off a piece of dough the size of a table-tennis ball and use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the center. Place a ball of filling in the indentation, then bring the dough up and over to enclose it, rolling it in your hands to make a smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.

5. Place the bonbons on two ungreased (or parchment-lined) baking sheets and bake them for 14 minutes. They won't brown, which is OK. Let the bonbons cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes (they're fragile when hot) before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

6. To make the glaze: Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler. Add the butter and corn syrup, stirring until smooth and glossy.

7. Dip the tops of the cooled bonbons in the glaze. If the glaze thickens, reheat it briefly, then continue dipping. Top each with an almond slice or two, if desired. Let the bonbons sit for several hours until the glaze hardens, then store them in an airtight container.

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