Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I was in need of a nice gift for Father's Day. We haven't gotten all the pictures from the wedding yet, so a photo for his frame (a wedding gift) was out. Cookies were out too, since my dad never worked a job where he required a suit, tie, and calculator, and doesn't golf. And mail-order pies are incredibly difficult to find.


Not long before I got married the big wedding thing to have was Parisian macaroons from this super fancy company in France. And while these are lovely, of course, it was always the same: intrepid bride decides she must have French macaroons at her wedding. Bride discovers international shipping prices. Bride decides to make them herself. Bride chucks it and has regular cake like everyone else (and everyone is the happier for it).

Therefore the only two things these stories have in common are 1) I needed a shippable gift and 2) I wanted to make these cookies.

These cookies are basically air. Fabulous, fabulous air. I've used Martha's recipe before, and it worked out just fine. Unlike the madelines, this time I have better help:

Start with aged egg whites. I don't have proof that the aging makes a difference. Whip the whites until they're "foamy." You must use an electric mixer or you will drive yourself batty. Just trust me on this one.

Next, the instructions say gradually add the sugar. If by "gradually," they mean "dump in all at once while the mixer is off so sugar doesn't spray all over the kitchen," then yes. Do that. This is where you're going to start looking for those infamous stiff peaks, although it'll take a good 5 minutes to get there.

See? Air.

Next, you'll add some sugar and almond flour. Note: despite having made these before, and actually reading about the best way to make these, I never actually read the words almond flour. I read crushed up almonds. So, I went to the apex of evil (Trader Joe's) and got some almond meal. This is why mine look kind of funky and yours will look amazing.

There are some long, drawn out directions on how to bake these. I actually piped them this time, which was a dumb idea. First, my tip wasn't wide enough and the random larger almond chunks clogged it. Second, unless you're working at a bakery, do your cookies really have to be perfect 1" disks? No.

And yes, 1" really is kind of small. They sure don't look that small in the pictures.

Let those hang out for a while. They'll harden, almost like they're already cooked. But they're not! Remember? You let those raw egg whites sit out for 24-36 hours. Gross.

While they're baking for a brief amount of time, you might want to mix up some filling. The possibilities are crazy; a lot of flavors will work with these since they're just a light, sweet little fluff of a cookie. I made up a batch of frosting as I learned from my cake decorating class, because I knew it would ship well. But if you're going to keep them around a refrigerator, a lot more will work.

I made plain white icing and spooned out a bunch to mix with lemon zest and yellow gel. Lemon juice would have been better but I wasn't sure the juice would make it cross-country. Then I scooped out some and mixed in some buttercream flavoring (also for shipping purposes). Finally, I dumped some cocoa powder into the remaining and made chocolate. Sweet, amazing, fudgy chocolate. Guess which one came out the best?

Et voila! Mini burgers!

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