To quote Jonah Hill, yes, “You want these in and around your mouth.”
No matter how much I profess my love for the markets here, nothing can substitute the convenience of Trader Joe’s. When I first moved abroad, I missed it every day. And when I went home for a short vacation, while eating our favorite Trader Joe’s cookie, my friend Henry and I discussed whether or not it would be difficult to try and make them.
I’ve poured over recipes for the last few days, dreaming about making these cookies. No joke. The other day, the pangs of neighborhood construction woke me in the middle of figuring out the perfect ratios to make a cookie with a fine lace though still chunked-full of almonds. My life is so tough, huh?
Nevertheless, I bring you THE BEST knock-off lacey cookies that you can make with minimal ingredients, impress everyone at the party and gain a few pounds in the process! Hooray…? They are perfectly chewy in the middle, crispy on the ends, toffee-scented with a hint of orange. And if you aren’t salivating yet, chocolate can be sandwiched between two layers, dipped around the edges, drizzled across or they can simply be rolled into flutes and accompany your morning, afternoon and late afternoon coffees.
Makes 32 cookies about 2.5-3″ in width
You might also want to check out these delicious Pistachio Lace Cookies smothered in a dark chocolate and tahini sauce. Enjoy!
What you need:
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tblsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp milk (I used 1 percent, but I think you could use any kind of milk you have in your fridge, including cream)
1/4 c date honey (or regular honey)
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c almonds; coarsely ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 heaping tsp orange; zested
1/2 c dark chocolate (for dipping)
How to do it:
Tips: 1) You must follow the order here. I have accidentally added the almond mixture at the wrong stage and the cookies will not spread. 2) Cool your tray with water each time you remove it from the oven (it will not warp your tray) or get three trays handy because if you drop your batter onto a heated tray the cookies will start to spread instantly and will be oddly-shaped. 3) If you end up with any oddly shaped ones, just take some scissors and cut the edges before the cookies have completely cooled down.
Let’s begin! Preheat your oven to 350 F and line two baking trays with parchment paper; set aside. Bring the butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and honey to a boil, stirring continuously. Once it reaches a rolling boil, wait one minute and then remove from the heat. Now, grab a bowl and mix the flour, almonds, cinnamon and orange zest together, slowly adding them to the wet mixture and making sure everything is incorporated well. Let sit for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is cool enough to be handled, even though you won’t be handling it.
If the mixture is stiff when you return to it, warm it up over a low flame for a minute or two.
Drop teaspoon-sized balls onto your parchment paper, leaving about three inches space between each of the cookies because they will spread a lot. Create a double-boiler to melt the chocolate or melt it in the microwave.
Leave them to cook for 6-8 minutes. If you want them more like toffee brittle leave them in on the longer end. I like mine slightly chewy in the center and crispy on the outside. Once the centers are bubbling and they are a goldeny-brown color, remove them from the oven. Immediately remove the parchment paper from the tray and let them cool on the counter. After about three-five more minutes, you’ll be able to remove them from the parchment paper without a problem. Any sooner and they’ll still be soft and likely tear.
Once you’re able to remove them from the parchment, you can wrap however many you want around the stick of a wooden spoon and create a flute. You can also fold them to create a bowl for ice cream, which I would have done if I hadn’t eaten the rest of the ice cream a few days ago…OR you can teaspoon chocolate onto the flat side of a cookie and sandwich it with another, which is my preference. Place them in the fridge for about 15 minutes to get the chocolate hard. Enjoy!