This is my Maw, my grandmother's, recipe. It is so special and loved that Mom and I made Brown-Eyed Susans ourselves to serve at my reception. (The caterer made everything else, don't worry.)
Not only were these cookies served at my wedding reception but the blog, Style Me Pretty, actually took my submission for their "Grandma's Favorite" recipe contest. I didn't realize it was published until LONG after the fact. Click the image below to see it for yourself. Pretty cool:
Lastly, I must share the original recipe card. Maw had a cursive typewriter!
2 sticks of room temperature butter (yes, that is oleo!)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon real almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (just one time even though there is a typo on the card above)
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons of hot water
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cream the butter on high speed for 2 minutes.
3. Turn to medium speed and add the sugar and almond extract.
4. Turn down to low speed and add the flour and salt. You will have to scrape the bowl midway through. The butter tends to stick on the sides of the mixing bowl. The dough will be stiff so lock the tilt head or your mixer might walk off the counter. (I know this from experience.)
5. Grease 2 insulated cookie sheets. Insulated is best. You don't want these babies to brown on the bottom (easier said than done).
6. Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Round in your hand until all creases disappear. I use my pointer and middle finger to flatten the tops slightly. This will keep the icing from running. They should be very moldable...you can smooth out the cracks again after you smush if you are very particular.
FYI: My recipe made 2 dozen. I guess I am a little more generous on portion sizes than Maw!
7. Bake on 400 degrees for 12 minutes. I did 6 minutes and swapped the top/bottom cookie sheets in order to keep them from browning. It is better to undercook than overcook these cookies.
8. When they come out of the oven immediately remove them to a cooking rack. Again, you don't want the bottoms to brown! Let cool completely.
9. Now to make the icing... In another mixing bowl combine 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of water. If it is too thick you can add drops of water to thin. It will harden as it sits. You certainly can just spoon icing on the cookies. I use some of my tools from my cake decorating days. (wilton 12 tip)
10. Top with almond slivers. *It is important to add the almond slivers before the icing hardens so they stick!*
11. Try not to eat too many yourself! Again, easier said than done! They literally melt in your mouth.
How beautiful is a day like today for baking?!