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PASSOVER BAKING

Almond macaroons

(food styling/tony rosenfeld; aram boghosian for the boston globe)
April 1, 2009

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Makes 30

Macaroons are often on the dessert table of the Passover Seder because they contain no leavening and will hold together with coconut or almonds. These meringuelike rounds, made with ground almonds, are lighter and more delicate than the coconut version. Pipe the batter out of a pastry bag, which makes perfect rounds, or drop them onto a baking sheet. You can either grind slivered almonds in a food processor or use almond meal, which is ready-ground (Trader Joe's sells Just Almond Meal; a 1-pound bag is $3.99). Macaroons made with ground slivered almonds are whiter than the rounds with almond meal.

3egg whites
1cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2cups slivered almonds (10 ounces), finely ground, or 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) almond meal
1. In a mixer, beat the egg whites for 3 minutes or until they hold medium-firm peaks. Slowly add the sugar, salt, and almond extract, if using. Continue beating until the mixture thickens almost to the consistency of whipped cream.

2. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the ground almonds. Refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes.

3. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. With a pastry bag and plain round tip, pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets. Alternatively, use 2 spoons to form 1-tablespoon portions and drop them onto the sheets. Bake the macaroons for 20 minutes or until they set and brown lightly.

5. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer the macaroons on the paper to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Tony Rosenfeld