Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in center of the oven. Line three or four sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix ground almonds (or oats), All-Purpose Flour and salt (or Bread Mix and no salt), and set aside. In a medium, heavy bottomed pan, bring brown sugar, butter, orange zest and corn syrup to just boiling. Keep at this temperature for 6 minutes, lightly boiling, while stirring frequently (the spoon will start to leave paths through the caramel). Remove from heat, add cream and vanilla, stirring constantly (it may bubble up for a minute). Add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. You need to work quickly to form cookies while the dough is warm and pliable.
On a half sheet pan covered with parchment, make cookies by dropping 1 heaping teaspoon of batter about 3” apart on the sheet pan (no more than 5 cookies will fit on a half sheet pan 13” x 18"). When dropping the cookie dough onto the sheet pan, be careful not to burn yourself (sugar sticks to the skin when boiling, and it really burns). The cookies will spread a lot. Put one sheet of cookies in at a time. Bake for three minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another two to three minutes. They will be golden and bubbling on the parchment when they are done. Let cool on rack. Put next sheet pan in and repeat process until all cookies are baked. Leave on parchment to cool, unless you are going to shape them.
TO FORM SHAPES:
Once cookies come out of the oven, you need to keep an eye on their temperature; there is only a small window of time when they can be shaped, usually 4 to 6 minutes after they come out of the oven. Have all tools, parchment, non-stick spray, and molds ready to use and a wire rack for the formed shapes to cool on. As soon as you can handle the cookies, peel one cookie off the parchment and start a shape. BOWLS: Spray small bowls, or ramekins. Take warm cookie and lay it over the bowl. Gently help shape it. When you have the shape you want, let it cool on its mold and go on to the next one. An upside down muffin tin would work too (do every other one, so they don’t stick to each other). CIGARS: Find a long round-handled spoon or kitchen utensil; metal works best, but a sprayed dowel will do, anything you can wrap the cookie around. Take one warm cookie and wrap it around the shape until edges overlap. It's great if you can fit more than one per handle. Once shaped, let cool a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Dip the ends in chocolate, serve, or store in tin as directed above.
melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Place melted chocolate in small pastry bag or zip lock and cut off the tip about ¼" (better to cut too small). Gently squeeze out chocolate while moving your hand back and forth across the cookie. Do this on as many cookies as you wish to decorate with this method. Let cool, then do the same thing, drizzling the chocolate across the original stripes of chocolate. Let set up totally before moving. You can put in refrigerator or freezer to quicken this process.
Using warm chocolate (process explained above) squeeze onto cookie, making a couple of circles, then spread with an offset spatula or knife. Once bottom is covered, lay back down on parchment, chocolate side down (this will help to smooth out the bottoms). Let cool completely before removing from paper.
Dip end of cooled, rolled cookie into warm chocolate. Hold for a minute turning to help chocolate set-up on itself instead of dripping off. Once somewhat set, lay on parchment to set up totally before moving or storing.
CHEFS NOTE: Cookies will hold in a tin, layered with wax paper, dipped or not, in a cool, dark place for up to five days. If left out uncovered overnight, they will get soft and stick together.
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