I make meringue cookies (see Forgotten Cookies) that are so well-loved that I can walk into the house of someone I haven’t seen in ages, and the first thing they’ll ask me is: did you bring the white cookies? My nephew, who lived in Paris, tells me that they remind him of macarons (without the feet). I had egg whites in the refrigerator (after making zabaglione) and was researching macaron recipes when Merrill and Amanda announced this week’s theme. As much as I would love to learn to make real macarons, what I learned from my research is that they are finicky. Unlike my “white cookies,” which practically make themselves. So I wondered: Could I make almond macaroons that have that crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside consistency? I used the same basic recipe, but followed some of the guidelines I read for macarons: I used my oldest egg whites (Some people suggest letting egg whites sit uncovered at room temperature for a day before using them. I didn't do that.), insulated cookie sheets (You may want to double yours up if they're thin.) and I let the batter rest before putting it into the oven. —drbabs
generous pinch of kosher salt
semi sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are my favorite.)
chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, toasted if desired; optional)
In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt till stiff peaks form.
Beat in sugar till mixture is white, shiny and stiff, but not dry.
Gently fold in almond meal and vanilla extract. (You can do this in the stand mixer--just slow it down to stir.)
Remove bowl from stand mixer and gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
Use 2 teaspoons to drop dough onto cookie sheets. Scoop with one spoon and scrape off with the other. Place them about 1-1 1/2 inches apart. They will spread a little, but they will mostly puff up in the oven.
Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about 30 minutes.
Arrange 2 oven racks so that the oven is divided into thirds. Preheat oven to 350.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Turn oven off and keep cookies in the oven for 10 more minutes. The cookies should be fragrant and starting to brown slightly.
Cool cookies on wire racks. Gently remove the cookies from the parchment.