Place 1/2 cup of the almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add flour, confectioners' sugar and salt and pulse to blend. Spoon butter, vanilla and almond extract into food processor and process until dough begins to hold together. Remove dough from processor, flatten into 2 discs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.Advertisement
Heat oven to 350 degrees. On floured wax paper, roll out dough to 3/16- to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Transfer circles to 2 large baking sheets. Use cutter to mark "wings" on cookies, pressing down but not all the way through dough. Using 1/4 tsp dough for each, form 2 balls. Affix balls to a cookie as eyes and press gently to flatten. Place a brown M&M's on each eye, and press half an almond between eyes to resemble a beak. Use a fork to add "feet" between wings.
Repeat with remaining dough, M&M's and almond halves, re-rolling scraps as needed. If dough becomes too soft, refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 2 minutes, then transfer directly to rack to cool completely.