Sugar High: Minney Beasley's almond lace cookies

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The delicate, crisp little cookie is technically a tuile, but not to Minney Beasley's founder Harmon Canon. "I just never use that word," he confesses. To Canon, they are simply almond lace cookies, made from a recipe handed down from his great aunt Minnie Beasley. What makes them tuiles is the fact that they're wrapped around dowel rods while they're still warm and pliable, leaving crispy cylinders when cooled.

So how did this Nashville family recipe end up in Denver?

Harmon Canon and his wife moved here in the fall of 2003 and knew it was time to introduce the rest of the world to the almond lace cookies. Each individually handmade cookie requires a labor-intensive baking process. Canon found a kitchen in Lakewood and his small crew of bakers got the art of the creation process down to a science. He started the business the following spring, and things have been going well ever since: Canon even picked up an award for best gourmet cookie at the New York Fancy Food Show in 2008.

The cookies have an almost toffee-like consistency: crunchy and buttery with an overall pronounced almond flavor. They are lovely with a cup of coffee, the sweetness of the cookie almost begging for a dark accompaniment. Though we didn't sample any, the company also offers cookies dipped in dutch chocolate, which sounds like a perfect combination.

Their newest gluten-free variety is virtually indistinguishable from the originals, lacking only a subtle roundness to the buttery flavor. Unless you were eating them side-by-side with a discerning tongue, you would never know the difference. While you can find the original cookies in specialty stores across town, including The Truffle Cheese Shop, Compleat Gourmet and Village Roaster, the gluten-free cookies opened up another big opportunity. Whole Foods at Tamarac Square now carries them, and Canon hopes his company can continue expanding the original line as well.

With a formidable fan base, it's not hard to imagine that the cookies will continue to draw enthusiasts. "We get phone calls from little old ladies around the country, and they'll say, 'I'm 80-years-old and I've never had anything like these!'" Harmon says. "That's when you smile and know you're doing something right."

Minney Beasly's almond lace cookies: $8.95/bag

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