Posted by: lisetta | December 22, 2007

Almond macaroons

This week at work, the vendors have been sending lots of treats our way. The most exciting of the deliveries, IMHO, was the tray of cookies from an Italian bakery in South Jersey. Don’t recall the name of it, but the almond macaroons were truly delicious. Even curmudgeonly Chris cracked a smile when he ate one! The smile inspired me to whip up a batch for tomorrow’s holiday brunch.

almond macaroons

Lisetta’s almond macaroons

3 cups of ground almonds
1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar + some more for dipping
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
4 teaspoons of rose water

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Beat the egg and add the zest, extracts and rose water.

Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to a paste. 

Break off teaspoon-sized pieces of the paste and roll little balls in your hands. Note: they are a bit sticky, so you can slightly wet your hands to prevent sticking.

Put some powdered sugar into a shallow bowl and press the balls into the sugar, coating one side.

Place the cookies sugar-side up on a cookie sheet and back at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes, or until bottom is lightly browned. Leave space in between the cookies for spreading. 

When cookies are done, cool them on a rack, and do your best not to eat more than a few! Don’t you love the crackled top?

While baking, I got to thinking. My immigrant grandparents died before I was born, so I never had the pleasure of learning how to make any of the Italian specialties everyone else takes for granted. Did my grandmother make pizzelles? anise cookies? biscotti? ladylocks? thumbprints? I don’t know, but I wonder if I was channeling my ancestral past in creating these little gems. These cookies are my new faves. No butter! How cool is that?

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