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almond macaroons

In dessert on July 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

when the cat’s away, the mice will… make things with nuts in them.

i had a bag of almond meal (aka almond flour) that i’ve been dying to turn into almond macaroons.

now, these are not the fancy, color-coordinated french macaroons popping up at every other wedding these days. they are plain in color and chewy. you may have seen them in an italian bakery, and often they are covered with pignoli (pine nuts).

the recipe is simple and flourless, so it’s a good one for those gluten-free friends out there.

start by separating three eggs, and beating the whites for about three minutes or until medium-stiff peaks form. you can test it by lifting the beater out and seeing how easily the tip of the peak falls. it should look sort of like this:

(feel free to throw out the yolks, or make custard…)

then beat in one cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and almond extract if you have it. i didn’t, so i used vanilla. it changed the flavor of the final product (obvi), but not necessarily in a bad way. especially if you like vanilla.

once the mixture thickens a little, fold in one and a half cups of almond meal.

it was really hard to take a picture of “folding” with one hand while doing it with other, so just think of it as scooping from under the batter and folding over the top. you don’t want to mix it vigorously. fold until just mixed, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

when you are ready to shape and bake the macaroons, you can either spoon dollops of batter on to your cookie sheets, or you can pipe it with a piping bag and the biggest tip you have. i actually didn’t use a tip at all, because i don’t have a very large one and it doesn’t matter if they’re a little rustic.

cover with pignoli, garnish with a single slivered almond, or leave plain,

and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned.

(note: i did notice that the ones baked without the silpat got slightly browner on the bottom than ones i baked on it, so if you have one, use it. if not, line the baking sheet with parchment paper, or don’t mind the bottom…)

they keep up to five days in an air-tight container.

the texture and flavor were great. my only complaint would be the shape – i think they ended up a tiny bit too flat. next time i would shape them with a spoon (sort of flattened balls) or pipe them into more of a lump than a disk.

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