vegan almond horns (Horseshoe Cookies)
What’s in a name~ vegan almond horns
I prefer to call these almond horseshoe cookies, not almond horns. I just don’t see horns when I look at them. Nope, they’re horseshoes, and I have to call it like I see it. Lucky for you, they are just in time for the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert. No artificial flavors or gnarly green food coloring in these delectable little good luck charms. I even chose to make these vegan and no one will ever know unless you choose to tell them. They require a little bit of prep, but are so worth it, trust me! I had to monitor the comings and goings of everyone in my kitchen (including myself) to make sure they were not making off with more than their fair share of these delightful pastries. They did not make it past the 24-hour mark, and in all honesty, several of them never even made it to the photo shoot for this recipe share… I may have had a hand in that, literally. It’s like everyone in this house lost all control around these things. You might too.
Picnics and label reading
Last month was unusually warm here and my family had a picnic to enjoy the warmth and sunshine a few weeks back. My oldest went shopping with me to prepare for the picnic. He is and has always been a very curious shopper ( a bit of a wanderer). He will find things on shelves and displays at stores that I have never seen, nor would I have ever noticed if it weren’t for him. Sometimes this is awesome and we end up finding new exciting foods, and other times I am left explaining (lecturing) the various reasons that certain things are better left at the store and will not be tagging along in our cart. I always try to use positive words and creative descriptions of negative ingredients that I prefer to keep out of our home. I don’t want him to worry so much about bad foods that he becomes judgemental of others or worries that everything he eats outside of our home is going to kill him. For the most part, he is very understanding and much of that has to do with me assuring him that we can make so many of these things at home while maintaining total control over all the ingredients.
A new cookbook and a man with a plan
Our shopping trip was running seriously close to our picnic departure time. Our original plan was for him to make a dessert from his new cookbook, but the timing wasn’t looking good. He has his own watch now and was able to discern this on his own, which is why when I turned the corner I saw him eyeballing the TJ’s dessert table next to the dairy case. My heart sank a little because we had been so excited to get in the kitchen and crack his new cookbook from his birthday. Instead, we were now skimming ingredient lists on pastry boxes while trying to stay out of everyone’s way. That’s when he found almond horns. I was excited because I have memories of these from my childhood. The ingredients were acceptable, and he was thrilled.
A trail of almond horns
Turns out my family really loves almond horns. We come from a long line of almond horn lovers too. I used to find these cookies wrapped in a napkin inside my Grandmother’s purse! We used to frequent a Ranch Resort’s buffet in Tucson, AZ when my siblings and I were younger and she always took a few of these to go. I never gave them much notice when they were on the same table as cake, pie, truffles and cupcakes, however, she knew these were the best things on the table. I know that now too.
Sometimes accidents in the kitchen reap new recipes!
After watching my family devour an entire box of these in an embarrassingly short amount of time; I decided to experiment with a recipe. I had half of a box of almond paste in my pantry. Not nearly enough. The ingredient list of almond paste is usually okay. However, as I continued reading the box I saw the words, ” partially produced with genetic engineering.” What a bummer. Why do so many things have to be GMO? So, I decided that I would make my own almond paste. Once, I accidentally made my own almond paste, a few years back. I was trying to make almond flour and left it whirling in the food processor too long. But not long enough to become almond butter. That kind of thing happened often back then. I had two toddlers and one was deep into the potty training process. It was a drop everything and run situation much of the time in those days. Things were rough in the kitchen and pretty much everywhere else at that time. I remember I doctored up the almond meal (waste not, want not) and added some things here and there and tasted it. It tasted exactly like almond paste, but was very dark and did not resemble almond paste. Perhaps that is why I never attempted to make it again, until now. I am so glad I did because YUM! This Homemade Vegan Almond Paste is like nothing you have tasted before. Store-bought will NEVER be good enough for you again!
|Cook Time:||12 min|
|Prep Time:||30 min|
|Total Time:||45 min|
|Cuisine:||Vegan, gluten free|
* 1 cup of almond flour
* 3/4 cup of raw sugar or powdered sugar
* pinch of sea salt
* chia gel ( 1 Tbls ground chia seeds mixed with 3-4 tbls of filtered water)
* 1 Tablespoon of almond extract
* 2-3 cups of sliced almonds (your preference on how coated you want them to be. I coat mine well)
* 1/3 cup of melted cacao butter ( may sub coconut oil)
* 1/3 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/4 cup of maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
3. Grind up 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds in a grinder or a high speed blender. Pour into a bowl and mix it with 3-4 Tbls of filtered water, let sit so that it may gel.
4. ln the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the almond paste, sugar, almond flour, almond extract, and chia gel until combined. Dough will be soft and sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add in more almond flour as needed. (you may mix by hand or with a hand mixer as well.)
5. Place sliced almonds on a dinner plate or in a casserole dish and crush up some of them with your hands.
6. Place 1.5 inch balls of the dough onto the plate a couple at a time and roll them out into a cylinder into the almonds. Shape into horseshoes and place on the prepared baking sheets. (This is much easier if you have wet, or damp hands.)
7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to baking
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
9. While cookies are cooling, melt cacao or coconut oil and whisk in the cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder and sweetener of choice. Whisk until smooth and shiny.
10. Dip the ends of the horseshoes into the chocolate and the bottom of the cookies as well, if you wish. Place on parchment paper and allow the chocolate to harden. You can place them in the fridge if you live in a warmer climate, or if you are impatient.
11. Cookies will remain fresh for about a week in an airtight container, but they probably won't last that long!
~you may choose to use melted chocolate chips in place of the melted cacao oil and caco powder and that is perfectly fine too! I chose the melted cacao because it is softer when you bite into the cookie, therefore, almonds don’t fly everywhere and ensures that it is vegan. ~