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Published: Friday, December 21, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

12 days of Christmas cookie recipes, plus tips

  • Saffron almond puffs.

    Mattew Mead / Associated Press

    Saffron almond puffs.

Christmas is almost here, and that means it's cookie time. We love cookies, so we've been rolling out 12 days worth of them. The final one is today. We've even left you time to try one or two -- or more -- this weekend.

Here's what we've already covered:
6 tips to ensure the best cookies
Paprika lemon bars
Cardamom chocolate macadamia cookies
Tangerine-mace shortbread
Triple-ginger cranberry bars
Chocolate pepper sable
Chinese five-spice cookie
Cherry allspice hermits
Fennel cornmeal wafers
Cinnamon-honey oat drop cookies
Nutmeg nut bars
Apricot clove crumb bars

• • •
And now for the final cookie:
A delicate spice calls for a delicate cookie. So when looking for ways to make the most of the gorgeous color and ethereal flavor of saffron, meringue puff cookies were the obvious choice.
The result is a decidedly adult-friendly cookie with a light, crunchy exterior and a wonderfully chewy interior.
Almond saffron puff cookies
1 pinch saffron threads, crushed
1 tablespoon hot water
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) finely chopped almonds
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the saffron and the hot water. Let stand for 2 minutes.
Add the egg whites, vanilla, salt and cream of tartar. Beat until soft frothy peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until thick, glossy, firm peaks form.
Use a silicone spatula to gently fold the almonds, half of them at a time, into the egg whites. Be careful not to deflate the whipped egg whites. Scoop the mixture by rounded tablespoonsful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until very light golden brown and puffy. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Makes 36 cookies. Per cookie: 60 calories; 35 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 4 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 2 g protein; 20 mg sodium.
Story tags » CookingChristmas

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