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(Provencal Honey-Almond Cookies)


        3 large eggs

        6 ounces (180g) raw honey

        1 cup (200g) sugar

        1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

        1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

        2 teaspoons orange flower water (optional)

        A pinch of salt

        10 ounces (300 g) whole unblanched almonds

        2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 335g) unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C; gas mark 4/5). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, whisk the eggs, honey, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, orange flower water, and salt at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 2 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in the almonds.
Gradually incorporate the flour, spoonful by spoonful, enough to form a soft dough. Flour your hands thoroughly and divide the dough into 4 pieces. The dough will be very soft and sticky.

With your hands, form each piece of dough into a log about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide and 11 inches (27.5 cm) long. Place on a nonstick baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake until the dough is an even, light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet form the oven and transfer the logs to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer each log to a cutting board and cut with a sharp knife into diagonal slices 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Stand the slices upright on the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the center of the oven and bake until the cookies are a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. They should be dry and crisp. Once cooled, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month.

Makes about 60 cookies.