1Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease 2 baking sheets.
2Beat 1 cup (1/2 pound) lard or vegetable shortening (at room temperature) with 1 cup granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in 1 tablespoon almond extract and a pinch of salt, then beat in 3 cups all-purpose flour, a little at a time. The dough will be crumbly.
3Shape spoonfuls of dough into flat, round cookies about 2 inches in diameter. (The edges of the cookies will have cracks.) Transfer to the prepared pans.
4Beat together 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water and brush it atop the cookies. Press a whole blanched almond into the center of each cookie.
5Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully. Store in an airtight container. Makes 4 dozen.
The nutty, cheesy filling spices up chicken breasts and is a snap to make. Toast the almonds in a skillet before you cook the chicken and you'll have just one pan to clean. Serve with couscous and haricots verts.