(pictured with Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries)

Crisp, light, buttery, and richly flavored, these cookies could perhaps be equaled but not surpassed. I think they make a wonderful dessert, especially when served on a decorative platter with a side dish of fresh fruit or Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

MAKES 4 DOZEN

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

ВЅ cup sugar

Вј cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (about 4 ounces) coarsely ground almonds

2Вј cups unbleached white flour

Вј teaspoon salt

  1. Cream the butter with the two sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla and almonds and beat until well blended. Gradually beat in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not overbeat the dough.
  2. Lightly flour a large sheet of wax paper. Turn the dough onto the wax paper and shape into a log 2 inches in diameter. Roll to cover completely with the wax paper; then refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
  3. When ready to use, cut the log into slices Вј inch thick. (For an easy method mark off Вј-inch spaces with a ruler on the whole log and then slice.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges. These cookies do not spread during baking. Cool on a wire rack before serving. Store in a covered tin up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: You can freeze the dough and use it whenever you wish, although it does lose some flavor when frozen. Slice it frozen, or slightly thawed, and cook as directed.