January 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
Everyone and their mother’s best friend seems to love macarons. On one hand, I totally get it. The pretty colors, the intriguing fillings, and the attention to detail required all make this French pastry quite a sweetheart…but you all know that I’m a crank and after successfully tackling the macaron, I kind of stopped caring.
Well, I guess that’s not true. I’ve made other things with similar ingredients and nearly identical little feet. Some might, in fact, say that in the face of a complicated process, I was being the fox who spurned sour grapes. But for this family, it’s not about grinding up foraged mushrooms to create a
supremely weird delightfully unique little sandwich cookie. In fact, we don’t even want the filling because for us it is all about that heavenly ménage à trois between egg white, ground almonds, and sugar. In fact, that’s what originally drew me towards brutti ma buoni, because with a name like ‘Ugly but Good’ how can you not fall in love?
So what a lovely surprise when my almond meringue cookies, which at best can be described as a marriage of haphazard almond grinding and less than macaronage mixing, formed those little feet that macaron aficionados obsess over! And I’m well aware that they’re
really quite ugly little things, but as the wise Italians knew: ugly things are very often delicious and beautiful things all too frequently taste like food coloring.
‘Ugly but Delicious’ Almond Meringue Cookies
poorly adapted (due to inability to read) from CiaoItalia
2 cups slivered almonds
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Toast the slivered almonds however you prefer. I did it in a pan on the stove top with a lot of vigorous stirring, but to do it on a sheet pan in the over is also more than acceptable. If going the oven route, toast for 5-7 minutes and watch them carefully so they don’t burn. After toasted, transfer to a food processor and blend with the flour until fairly well ground. Transfer to a bowl…or leave in the food processor for less dishes.
Set up a double boiler type contraption with a glass bowl atop a smaller pot filled with simmering water. It’s important that the water doesn’t touch the bowl so it’s strictly heated by steam. Place egg whites into bowl and immediately start beating them to prevent scrambling. As the egg whites get foamy, slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites become glossy and thicken. I personally felt a physical difference in the thickness, but these cookies are forgiving if you underbeat.
At this point, remove the glass bowl from the hot water. Take your almond/flour mixture and fold into the glossy egg whites until thoroughly combined and homogenous. Everyone should be friends with each other. Now scoop out the batter with a tablespoon or cookie scoop onto a parchment lined sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. Let cool for 5 or more minutes before peeling from the parchment. Now you may fill if you want or just enjoy them delightfully on their own!