mahlab sugar cookies

welcome to my second of three valentine’s day posts. i really went all in this year because the excitement flowed like magma from my temporarily red-accented, almond-scented kitchen, and unlike last year, i didn’t have a book deadline to slow it down. so i’m letting loose because valentine’s day is the best, for these reasons:

-red foods, pink foods, almond foods, and chocolate foods are really good and have the potential to be really cute

-hearts are easy shapes to cut out 

-valentine’s day falls during a time when the streets are the slushiest and the days are the coldest and darkest

-heart shaped pizza!

i’m totes making heart shaped pizza tonight for friday pizza night.

i had three (3!) flights yesterday on my way home from aspen (more on that later!), and that’s when i planned to have these cookies posted but then i couldn’t stop reading the circle. have you read it? it’s so good. on all of my flights i hid under my blanket scarf and listened to nickel creek and busted through the second half of it, just in time to land in grand forks. lily recommended it to me, and she is now 2 for 2 with the a+ recs (where’d you go bernadette? was the last book i read, on her recommendation, and it was great. so lily, plz send over more recs). and you know what the best part about it is? ok, so whenever i get really into a book, i start imagining who would play the characters in a movie version, and then i usually end up googling to see if a movie will even be made of the book (i still google “night circus movie” every few months), and when i google searched for a circle movie, i found that the movie is coming out in april and it’s starring tom hanks and emma watson. that is truly the best possible scenario for this situation and i cannot contain my excitement. 

in other news, when i wasn't reading the circle this week, i was likely watching this is a dance video. i’ve watched it so many times and i think you might enjoy it.

today i am going to do emails, play some drum pad, lift weights while listening to the new unorthodox episode, and make a batch of these here cookies for a cookie decorating book signing tomorrow at our cutest town boutique, kittsona!! so to all of my grand forks homies, come over tomorrow between noon and 2pm, hang out, decorate some cookies, and maybe get a book for your valentine???

these cookies are soft and chewy! they are a fairly standard soft sugar cookie, but have the additions of almond flour and almond extract, and ground mahlab. which clearly i can’t shut up about. but here. try it for a new frontier of almond flavored baked goods. and if you're fresh out of mahlab, you can still make these and end up with a super great soft almondy sugar cookie.

i've decorated these with crushed freeze dried berries and crushed meringues (leftover from my cookie cereal). crushed freeze dried berries are like a dainty alternative to sprinkles and you can maybe feel slightly healthier about eating a cookie since there's fruit on it? lol.

mahlab sugar cookies

makes 30 cookies


for the cookies:

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 c almond flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp mahlab, finely ground in a spice grinder

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg


for the frosting:

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 c powdered sugar

1 tb whole milk

1/4 tsp almond extract

pinch of salt


freeze dried berries, for decorating


preheat the oven to 350ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and mahlab.

using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. add the vanilla, the almond extract, and the egg. beat to combine.

add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat to combine.

(at this point, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days, or you can roll it out and bake immediately.)

turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. roll it out so it's about 1/4" thick. using a 3" circle cookie cutter, stamp out cookies and place them on the lined baking sheets, 1" apart. re-roll scraps as needed.

bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until edges just barely begin to brown. or not even. if you look at your cookies and you can tell that they're *thinking* about browning on the bottom in the next few seconds, take em out because then they'll be nice and soft once they cool. let them cool for about 10 minutes on the pans and then remove them to a wire rack. 

while the cookies cool, make the frosting. beat together the butter and sugar, and then add the milk, almond extract, and salt. 

cover the cookies with frosting and decorate with freeze dried berries. enjoy!