Cookie Crumbles

serves: 12 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft, for the pans
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups whole unblanched almonds, toasted
3 egg yolks
½ cup mini chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more if needed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Assemble two (9-inch) springform pans and butter the bottom disks and about an inch up the sides. Chop the almonds coarsely into chunks the size of chocolate chips. Stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl and toss in the chopped almonds. Beat the yolks together briefly and drizzle over the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork to blend. Add the chocolate chips and toss some more until they are all incorporated. Drizzle the cream over by tablespoons, tossing and stirring to moisten the nut mixture evenly. It should be crumbly but not floury; add a small amount of more cream if necessary.

Pour half of the crumb mixture into each buttered cake pan. Spread and press the crumbs down lightly in an even thick layer covering the bottom of the pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until the cookie rounds are nicely browned and starting to shrink from the side ring of the pan. Let them cool on a rack for about 20 minutes and then remove the springform side rings and bottom disk. It is easier to remove the cookies from the base of the springform if they are still slightly warm, but not hot. Serving the fregolata is fun. Smack the fregolata in the center with the back of a spoon; it will crumble in many pieces and you can eat the crumbs. It is delicious soaked in milk or for Mom and Dad, serve with a cup of espresso. Serve as a garnish with poached fruits or ice cream.