Thursday, April 2, 2009

chewy amaretti cookies

chewy amaretti cookies

We’re starting the long and brutal process of packing up our apartment, brutal because as I am sure you know, the longer you live somewhere, the more uh, “stuff” you accumulate and forget about. We’ve lived here over four years, the longest I’ve lived anywhere besides my parents house, which means that weeding through our belongings is part “so that’s where my Tonic CD went!” (he swears he was joking) and part “you had a recipe binder?”

really complicated ingredientssugar pulsed with almond pasteadorably piped almond blobschewy amaretti cookies

Oh right, I did. Remember those dark days before the internet, when curious cooks actually had to clip recipes from newspapers and magazines, and keeping those clippings organized in some sort of book or box? Nope, me neither. Going through this binder is fascinating for me as I see what kind of recipe hopes I’d had ten years ago — a surprising amount I’ve actually gotten to. And of course there are things that I completely forgot about, like almond cookies that are made with only three ingredients (okay, four, I added salt).

chewy amaretti sandwiches

Seeing as my family is a bunch of marzipan junkies, the fact that one of the ingredients is almond paste demanded that I test these, pronto. Plus, lacking flour, they should be perfect for Passover (or they will be until someone in the comments tells me that there’s an ingredient that is not Kosher for Passover and yes, this is pretty much the system I use to check on these things) and gluten-free and seriously, might these cookies save the world, too? (Nope, sorry, got that covered.)

But I’ll let you decide.

chewy amaretti cookies

Passover, previously: 17 Flourless Dessert Ideas + Chocolate Walnut Cookies, Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote and Matzo Ball Soup

One year ago: Shaker Lemon Pie

Chewy Amaretti Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2009

If they look a bit like uber-trendy macarons, it’s is because they have a lot in common with them — they both involve slightly aged egg whites, ground almonds, sugar and not a whole lot else. And yet, they’re a heck of a lot easier to make, not leaving you crossing your fingers that the macaron faeries will grace your batch with the ideal level of humidity and a perfectly formed “foot”. In fact, the only downside of these cookies at all is that like many other macarons, macaroons and meringues, they’re sweet, very sweet. If you try them with less sugar, please let us know how it goes in the comments.

And yes, this is not the original source of the almond cookie recipe I’ve had for ages, but it looked even easier and who can argue with that?

Yield: About four dozen cookies, or half as much if you sandwich them

1 (7-ounce) tube pure almond paste (not marzipan; 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 large egg whites at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 300°F and place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

Pulse almond paste, sugar and salt in a food processor until broken up, then add egg whites and puree until smooth. Transfer batter to pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 1-inch apart in pans. Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.

Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.

[When you rotate the pan midway through baking, you'll wonder why you left so much space between the cookies. Suddenly, at 15 minutes they'll puff up and you'll be happy you left that space!]

Let cookies cool almost completely in their pans. Once cool, they’re much easier to cleanly remove from the parchment. You can make them into sandwich cookies but spreading some jam (I used raspberry) between them or ganache (3 ounces of semi-sweet chips melted with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream, then left to thicken a bit would be enough to sandwich the whole batch).

Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two or frozen up to one month.


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