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.


Phil in the Kitchen said...

I've never understood the point of the rice paper - it's the bit I didn't like (or maybe trust) as a kid. I like that use of cardamom a lot, though.

Snowy said...

I agree Phil, I didn't like the rice paper either. I love cakes with a hint of cardamom.

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