Crisp, Chewy Almond Macaroons
Contributed by: Christopher P. Kimball of The Dessert Bible
Have you ever wondered why pie dough falls apart when rolled, which standing mixer is the best for the money, or why cakes sometimes sink in the middle? In The Dessert Bible, you will find answers to these questions and hundreds more just like them.
Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated founder and editor has spent years testing and retesting hundreds of dessert recipes to find out what makes them work, what makes them fail, and how to make them as foolproof as possible. Can a 9-inch cake pan be substituted for an 8-inch pan? Which is the best thickener for fruit pie - tapioca, cornstarch or flour? Does the method of measuring flour make any difference? (Sift and measure versus measure and sift.) What are the secrets of beating egg whites for maximum lift in the oven and best texture?
Created with the home cook in mind, The Dessert Bible presents the best - and most reliable - ways to make more than 300 of America's favorite desserts. You will find easy to follow, almost foolproof recipes for Crhme Caramel, Coconut Layer Cake, Old-fashioned Shortcake, Double Chocolate Cookies, and Chilled Lemon Soufflé. And there's more: a "Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts" section reveals the best way to whip cream, grease baking pans, and melt chocolate. An extensive "Kitchen Equipment Buyer's Guide" rates food processors, baking pans, hand-held mixers and other equipment, naming names and offering retail prices. A chapter on ingredients provides the results of blind tastings which offer advice on which extracts, baking chocolates, flour, chocolate chips, and cocoa are best. Over 150 line drawings illustrate many procedures step-by-step, and each recipe is accompanied by a "What Can Go Wrong?" section which targets the specific problems home cooks are most likely to encounter.
The Dessert Bible goes beyond a collection of recipes to include an in-depth investigation of how and why they work so you will become a better cook whether you are a novice or a skilled kitchen veteran. Recipes include Coconut Macaroon Brownies, Double-Ginger Gingerbread, Roasted Apple Bread Pudding, and Burnt Sugar Ice Cream. Learn to make brownies and blondies, quick and easy soufflés, dessert jellies, crisps and cobblers, tarts and pies, cakes and torts, and much more. Recipes like Foolproof Crhme Brulee (no broiling required!) are ideal for less experienced cooks. Follow Kimball's Master Recipe for Yellow Cake or try one of six variations. Also included is a section on restaurant-style desserts from around the country that can be made at home, like Individual Fallen Chocolate Cakes and Lemon Curd Cheesecake. And, at last, The Dessert Bible promises success in creating the most common but also the most elusive of American desserts - the perfect homemade pie, with a foolproof homemade crust. Kimball shows you how, step by step.
Ground almonds rather than almond paste make the best almond macaroon, with real almond flavor and a chewy, not gooey, consistency. The egg whites should not be beaten, the sugar level should be modest, and the oven temperature should be relatively low.
- 1 3/4 cups blanched slivered or chopped almonds
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Sparkling sugar or confectioners' sugar for the tops of the cookies
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of the food processor, place the almonds and the sugar and process (using the metal blade) until the almonds are a fine powder, almost 1 minute. Add the egg whites and almond extract and process until most of the mixture forms a clump and starts rotating around the bowl, 10 to 15 minutes. The batter will be thick and very sticky.
Using a pastry bag and a large plastic tip, pipe round knobs about 1 1/4 inches wide onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between cookies. You can also make somewhat larger cookies (about 2 inches in diameter) using a number 24 ice cream scoop (dip it in water every third cookie so the batter does not stick), but a pastry bas is easier.
Moisten your fingertips with water and pat down any peaks on the cookies. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar or sift confectioners' sugar over the tops of the cookies. Let sit for one hour but no more than 2. (The waiting period is optional, but the cookies will hold their shape better and not crack as much if they sit before baking.)
At least 20 minutes prior to baking, adjust a rack to the center position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 20 minutes, reversing the cookie sheet front to back halfway through. The cookies will be lightly browned and dry-looking. They will be firm to the touch.
Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then remove the sheet of parchment to a rack and cool completely, cookies may then be stored in an airtight container.
Serving Size: Makes About 24 Cookies