You will never think of macarons as institutional fare after you taste these elegant and easy treats, close cousins of the amaretto cookies, and distinct from the often institutional coconut-based macaroons. Gluten-free without even trying! If you get lazy and would rather use store-bought ground almonds, also called almond flour or almond meal, use 2½ cups ground and mix everything by hand. If you are fond of hazelnuts, or pecans or cashews, simply substitute them for the almonds. The trademark of macarons is their sandwiched presentation, with jam to make them stick together, or very simple fillings, like this one. No problem making them on Passover, if you use nut butter for filling. And if you want to eat un-sandwiched plain macaron cookies, sans filling, this is your life, so go right ahead!
- 2 cups unblanched almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- 3 egg whites
- Good pinch salt
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 cup chocolate chips, best quality melted, on a very low flame or in a microwave
- 1 teaspoon coffee powder
- ½ cup dairy-free cream cheese
Whisk while the chocolate is still warm. Let the mixture cool before filling the macarons.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a food processor, grind the almonds, powdered sugar, and flavoring to a fine powder, making sure you do not over mix. Beat the egg whites and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer, then add the sugar and beat again until the mixture is firm. Fold in the almond mixture until thoroughly combined.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop the cookies through a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip, the size of walnuts. Bake 20 minutes, until golden. Do not allow the cookies to darken. Let the cookies cool.
Spread half the cookies with the filling (recipe below), and top them with another cookie. Store at room temperature in an airtight cookie tin. Makes 18 macarons.
No sandwiching, no filling. Skip the coffee in the macarons, and use 2 to 3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur.
Lemon Almond Cookies:
No sandwiching, no filling. skip the coffee. Add 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice