I love the French macarons, buut I also like English macaroons. Think they both come from the same root - A macaroon is a type of light, baked confection, described as either small cakes or meringue-like cookies depending on their consistency. The original macaroon was a "small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds"similar to Italian amaretti. [Wikipedia]
Had some almonds lurking at the back of the cupboard so this is a great recipe to use them. Haven't bothered with the rice paper you usually find on them.
Makes about 28
200g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
1/4 tsp finely ground cardamom
2 egg whites (from large eggs)
approx. 25g blanched almonds for the top of the macaroons.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC//gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment or preferably a silicone sheet.
Mix together the ground almonds, sugar, ground cardamom and egg whites, and knead with your hands or use the flat beater in a freestanding mixer until you have a paste. This is a thick paste, so I think a mixer is best.
Form little balls, about the size of a small walnut, out of the thick paste. As you put them on the lined baking sheet - about 3cm apart - squish them down slightly so that they are no longer balls but flattish. Put a blanched almond in the middle of each one and bake for 10-12 minutes till pale golden ; take them out of the oven and let them cool on a rack. When cooled, store in an airtight tin.
You can make them ahead, open-freeze on a tray for an hour, then fill plastic bags with them and keep them stored in the freezer. They probably don't need more than an hour to defrost at room temperature.
I brought the ground almonds back from a recent visit to Spain, and they seem much grainier than the ones I normally bake with. You can see this in the photo. A nice teatime treat - if you like almonds of course! The cardamom gives a hint in the background which I like. These are also nice if you add some cocoa to the mixture and leave out the cardamom.