Are you also one of those people who wonder why there aren't air fresheners, kitchen candles or body lotions scented like almond paste? If there can be "red velvet cupcake" and "pina colada" , why not marzipan? Probably because it could cause people to start eating their own arm. Or notepad. Or start a baking frenzy! I for one, am FOR that last part! Ok, strange addictions aside...I am in love with anything almond flavored. Not sprinkled with almond slivers; I'm not even sure I like almonds come to think of it. But when finely ground into a paste with sugar...I would eat it with a spoon. Almond extract? I could BATHE in it!
These little beauties are so simple and unassuming, but when I happened to see them headline a blog I follow, my heart stopped. I had to make them. Right away. There were so few ingredients, I couldn't talk myself out of it. My family and I were not disappointed! They were very easy to make, and easier to eat...I often would grab one as I walked by the kitchen. In hindsight, I should've kept them in a container. Then put that container on a hard to reach shelf! With their small round shape and cracked surface, you expect them to be the hard little amaretti cookies sometimes used to make a crust. Instead, they were soft and pillowy, with a consistency similar to a chewy coconut macaroon, but without all the scratchy bits.
The almond meal was easier to find than I thought it would be. I had seen it at public markets, but was worried about the availability in the Supermarket. There it was though, in the baking aisle of the "Natural Foods" area. It was about $5 for a one pound bag (a small price to pay for happiness!) The original recipe is weighted in grams. I happened to ask Santa for a kitchen scale last season, so that was not an issue. Just be sure to "tare" or "zero" the scale first. It turns out 200g by weight is approximately 1 cup by volume.
Using a stand mixer with a wire whip or an electric hand mixer makes fast work of whipping the egg whites. Only about 2 minutes to get them light and fluffy in "soft mounds". As you can see, mine are holding their shape quite well...a result of walking away to referee a squabble. They turned out great in the end so I don't think it mattered much. Incorporating them into the dry mix was simple with a silicone spoon. It looks like wet beach sand once mixed in, and smells Heavenly!
- 200 grams (about 1 cup) almond meal (a.k.a. almond flour), or finely ground almonds
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 large egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (I increased the original amount, of course)
- confectioner's sugar
With a whisk, mix together the almond flour, all purpose flour and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and pinch of salt together to form soft peaks. Then whisk in the almond extract. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture until a wet, course sand-like texture forms. With a small ice cream scoop (about the size of 2 teaspoons), make about 30 cookie mounds. Roll each mound between your palms until round. (Use confectioner's sugar to reduce sticking.) Place on a parchment, silicone mat or non-stick foil covered baking sheet, leaving about one inch of space between each cookie ball. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, letting cookies sit out and dry in the meantime for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then, bake in the middle of the oven for about 20-22 minutes. The surface should appear cracked and just slightly golden. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack with a silicone spatula. Store in an airtight container (high on a shelf don't forget!) for up to 3 days.
Original recipe from Love and Olive Oil. Each delicious morsel contains: 47 calories, 1.8g fat, 3.5mg sodium, 7.4g carbs, .4g fiber, 6.4g sugars, 1g protein