Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Almond Macaroons

I don't get confused easily (at least, I don't think I do), but there are a few things I can never get right. Using affect when I mean effect, for example (although I'm generally pretty snobby about my grammar, this one just doesn't stick). In that same vein, macaroons drive me crazy. Coconut vs. almond, macaroon vs. macaron - it's enough to drive someone to bake.

For years, I maintained that I didn't like macaroons due to a distinct distaste for coconut, and then these crazy chewy cookies made with almond paste appeared. But wait - almond macaroons are not the same as macarons, the fussy little cookies made with almond flour and sandwiched with delicious fillings? You know, I've stopped caring what I call them - these cookies are just plain delicious.

These almond macaroons turn out flat, with a crispy edge and a chewy middle. Use alcohol-free vanilla to make them gluten-free!

Almond Macaroons
3 1/2 ounces almond paste (half a 7oz package)
1/2 cup confections' sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp. vanilla
sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together almond paste, sugar, and salt until crumbly, about 3 minutes. Add egg white and vanilla and mix until smooth and thickened, about another 3 minutes. Drop by teaspoon onto baking sheet, about two inches apart. It doesn't look like you have much dough at all, but this should make 12-13 cookies. Arrange two slices of almond on top of each cookie. Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Slide parchment off baking sheet and cool completely.

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