Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer
For more information about the French Pastry School:
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2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour, skinless
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7 oz butter (French style, 82% fat)
2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
3/4 cup plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
3/8 tsp sea salt
1 extra large egg less 4 teaspoons
Sift the flour and the almond flour and combine the two in a bowl. Add the cinnamon. Place the butter, vanilla, sugar and sea salt in the bowl of your mixer and mix with the paddle for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the egg and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together. Add the dry ingredients and mix until they just come together. Stop the machine and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the beater, then beat again just until the dough is amalgamated. Do not over-beat or you will activate the gluten in the flour and the dough will be rubbery. Scrape out of the mixer onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Divide into two equal pieces and press each one gently until it is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Wrap airtight and refrigerate for at least two hours and preferably overnight to allow the flour to absorb the water in the dough. This will make the dough much more stable and easier to roll out. When you are ready to roll out the dough, shape and bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325ºF / 160ºC with the rack positioned in the middle. Line the sheet pans with parchment. Lightly dust your work surface or a silpat with flour. It may be easiest to cut each piece of dough in half and roll out 1 small piece at a time. Take the piece you are going to roll out from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Then roll out to 3/16th of an inch. Cut into shapes with the cookie cutters of your choice and place on the sheet pans. Brush the tops of the cookies lightly with egg wash, taking care not to allow it to drip down the sides of the cookies. Let sit for 10 minutes and apply a second thin layer of egg wash. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, reversing the pan front to back halfway through, until golden brown throughout. The low oven temperature will allow all of the water to evaporate, resulting in a very flaky cookie.
The finished product should golden brown throughout. This means that you have baked it long enough.
The cookies will keep for a month in a tin or an airtight container.
The dough can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days or it can be frozen. The finished product should not be frozen.
If you want to hang some of these on your Christmas tree, use the end of a chopstick to make a hole in the cookies before you bake them. When the cookies are baked thread the holes with ribbon and hang on your tree.