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For Christmas my mother in law suggested we do a cookie exchange. I’ve always wanted to do this, but never had enough people or the amount of time to participate. I recently saw some online ones to join so I might try to do that next year. This isn’t a cookie you can just toss together. While it’s pretty tasty it does require patience and can’t be rushed. I really like how it’s not an overly sweet cookie. It’s almost like a biscotti with a chocolate almond filling.

Pastura
(Adapted from Michael Chiarello)

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3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/3 cups honey, warm
1 large egg
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
About 6 ounces unblanched whole almonds (about 1 1/2 cups)
Vegetable spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add the honey and egg and beat on low to medium speed just until mixed.

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This makes a very sticky dough. You can roll it out immediately or scrape it into a ball, place it in a bowl, cover with a tea towel, and chill for 2 hours or up to overnight.

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Combine the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and place over (but not touching) a saucepan with gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until melted and smooth. Let cool until warm. (To melt in a microwave, mix the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Stir, then repeat.)

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Stir the almonds into the chocolate.

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Meanwhile, cut 4 sheets of parchment paper large enough to fit your baking sheet. The dough is very sticky and difficult to roll out even on a well-floured surface. Lightly spray 2 parchment sheets with vegetable spray. Transfer half the dough onto 1 sprayed sheet of parchment and top with the second sheet. Begin to spread the dough out with your hands, then roll the dough into as even a rectangle as you can, about 10 inches by 15 inches. It can easily be pushed and prodded into shape.

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Peel off the top sheet of parchment.

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Spread half the chocolate mixture in a 3 or 4-inch-wide band lengthwise down the center of the dough, leaving the top half of the dough and a 1-inch border around the remaining 3 sides bare.

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Use the bottom parchment to fold 1 side of the dough lengthwise over the chocolate mixture. Carefully peel back the parchment paper and press the edges of the dough together with a fork to seal.

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Slide the shaped log, still on the parchment, onto a baking sheet.

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Lightly spray the remaining 2 sheets of parchment with vegetable spray, and repeat the shaping and filling with the remaining half of the dough and chocolate mixture. Slide the log onto the same baking sheet, if there is room. The dough is so soft it is best to not move it off the parchment until after baking.

Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and then slice into 1/2-inch slices.

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