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.
Finding the absolute best ingredients such a big part of Chef Antoine Westermann’s culinary career and the main drive behind all of his expertly crafted dishes. His relationship with farmers and purveyors are critical to his work as a chef. While visiting one of his providers in New York, the French chef describes his efforts to find the best local ingredients for his restaurant.