The history of The Macaroon is an interesting one. A delicacy which first appeared in Italy in the late 18th century, this one simple cookie managed to be picked up throughout the ancient world and become one of the most celebrated desserts for multiple religions, occasions and celebrations.
It is thought that the first batch of macaroons were baked in a monastery in Italy. The recipe was saved and carried on by a pair of Carmelite nuns hiding during the French Revolution. The recipe soon after got released into the European Jewish community who began baking the dessert for festivals like Passover and Purim. Based on the ingredients in the cookies, they make a perfect passover food.
Macaroons can take many forms. Some are similar to American cookies, crisp and flavored with almond or coconut, and others combine the delicate flavor of meringue with the added body of dates or coconut. Some are even rolled in chocolate! Toward the Edwardian period, Meringues became a popular dessert offering as the ingredients were simple and affordable, and the process of making them was to quick.
If you are feeling like a sweet, crisp dessert get out those baking mitts… because we’ve got a recipe for you!
4 Ounces ground almonds
1 1/2 to 2 egg whites
5 Ounces caster sugar
12 blanched almond halves
Icing Sugar to Dust (Optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Line a baking tray with silicone paper or parchment. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites with a fork until foamy. Put the ground almonds into a food processor and process until very fine. This should take approximately 15 seconds.Add 1/4 of the egg whites. Process for 10 seconds. Add half of the sugar.Process for 10 seconds. Add another 1/4 of the egg whites and the remaining sugar. Process again for 10 seconds.
The mixture should be quite soft, but you should be able to shape it into 12 balls the size of a walnut. If you think the mixture is too stiff, add the remaining egg white.
Place the balls 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Brush all over with cold water and then drop 1/2 an almond on each. Bake for 15 minutes to 16 minutes, until lightly browned. Take care not to overbake.They should be crisp on the outside, but still moist and chewy on the inside.
Remove from oven to wire rack to cool.
Step 4 (Optional):
Dust with icing sugar if desired. Store in an airtight container.
Mmm… I can almost smell them.