WARNING: this is NOT a cheap cookie!
Ultimate Italian Almond Macaroons
So I had checked out FoodGal Carolyn Jung’s blog right before Christmas last year, when she had posted a recipe for this cookie. She said it was the one cookie that she did every year and she always got requests for the cookie. Her post was so compelling that I went out that week and got myself all I needed to make this cookie.
It was such a simple recipe! It is a little bit messy and gooey when rolling the cookie dough in the slivered almonds but the resulting cookie is a delight—a really yummy, chewy, almond delight. And the smell of the almonds when it’s baking will get you in the holiday mood like nothing else. The fragrance is so amazing!
Tips and Techniques
These cookies may be simple to make, but they aren’t cheap. It takes 2 1/2 tubes of almond paste to make one batch of these cookies. We paid $8 at Safeway for one 7 ounce tube of almond paste. (Does anybody know where you can get it cheaper?)
7 oz Tube of Almond Paste: $8
The recipe calls for you to combine the almond paste and sugar in a food processor—I just used my mini prep and that worked fine but if you don’t have either, don’t let that hinder you. Try chopping it up with a knife or even using a mortar and pestle—the main key is to get it crumbly and then whisking in the sugar. You could also use your mixer to do the job.
The one thing I had problems with was rolling the cookies out. After mixing the egg whites into the almond paste mix, the resulting mixture was pretty sticky and gooey. So I used a spoon to scoop out the mix and dropped it into a plate that had the slivered almonds. I gently rolled the mix around the almonds and then picked it up and put it on my baking tray. I was a little worried that the cookie wouldn’t bake up well but it was really pretty once baked.
If you don’t know what to do with all those egg yolks after baking this recipe, may I recommend you try making either my banana cream pie or my lemon curd which calls for egg yolks. The lemon curd would make a wonderful gift for friends for the season as well. A bag of Italian macaroons and a jar of lemon curd—your friends will love you for the homemade goodness you bring!
Italian Almond Macaroon
(makes about 5 dozen)
taken from FoodGal’s blog which she adapted from “Classic Home Desserts”
1 lb almond paste
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
About 1 lb slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Be sure to measure the almond paste accurately, as too little almond paste will create a super sticky dough that will be harder to work with (I got a sticky dough anyway, but don’t let that deter you!).
3. Break almond paste into pieces. Place in bowl of a food processor with the sugar. Pulse into almond paste is crumbled finely, and evenly combined with sugar.
4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks (I actually beat them till they were fairly stiff). Stir a little of the egg whites into the almond mixture; it will be fairly dry. Fold in remaining whites.
5. Place slivered almonds in a shallow bowl. Roll almond paste mixture into 1-inch balls, keeping them as round as possible. If mixture is too sticky, alternately drop heaping teaspoonfuls into the bowl of almonds; use your fingers to roll the dough ball around until coated evenly with slivered almonds.
6. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
7. Bake cookies until evenly pale gold, 15 to 17 minutes.
8. Cool cookies in pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. With a spatula, very carefully transfer cookies to the rack to cool completely. I could tell you that they store well but I suspect they will be gone in no time at all.
Ultimate Italian Almond Macaroons
I brought these cookies to a Christmas party and they were gone very quickly and I got lots of compliments for them. Personally, I thought they were a little too sweet (for my Asian tastebuds) but it was pretty addictive and I *managed* to munch on several before getting to the party!