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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Almond-Hazelnut Macaroons

I make macaroons a lot (basically whenever I have leftover egg whites), but I've never posted the 100% complete recipe here (I did sort of post it, but the details of making them came out in the comments, and at least one important detail was omitted).

I detest coconut, and so never really ate the macaroons most commonly available here in the US. In Russia, though, I bought a hazelnut macaroon on the street, and LOVED it. In the last few years fancy bakeries have started making them here in Portland. One popular place makes them in pastel colors with delicate flavors and buttercream filling. They're good, but fairly insubstantial. I like something with a bit more oomph: crunch, chew, and nut flavor. So, it didn't take much convincing for me to try the recipe for macaroons in The Dessert Bible. I've deviated from the original in ways that some might consider pretty major, most notably by using a) roasted and b) natural (not blanched) almonds. This is all by way of boosting the nut flavor; I'm afraid I wouldn't like traditional macaroons using raw blanched almonds nearly as much.

One reason I've made so many macaroons is that I had a huge amount of diced roasted almonds I'd purchased several years ago (I can feel the Laundry Queen cringing!) at a deep discount directly from the Blue Diamond growers' collective. I'd been storing them in my freezer (where you should always store all nuts, raw or roasted), but they really needed to get used up. After several recent batches (using up the egg whites generated as a side product of the Rhubarb Cream Cake), I finally ran out of diced roasted almonds while measuring out the nuts for today's batch! Fortunately I had several pounds of roasted hazelnuts on hand, so used almost half hazelnuts this time around. These macaroons are probably my favorite ever. Ever.
Chewy Nut Macaroons
adapted from The Dessert Bible

1 3/4 C nuts, preferably roasted, either with or without skins, with at least half of the nuts almonds
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
pinch salt
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1 t almond extract (or vanilla extract if using other kinds of nuts)

Ganache Filling:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 T heavy cream

Process nuts with sugar and salt in food processor until finely ground. Add egg whites and flavor extract, and process until batter is smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag, and pipe 1.5-2.5" circles of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour and not longer than two. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake macaroons, one sheet at a time, until firm, fragrant, and just starting to brown at edges, 30 minutes on insulated sheets. Let cool completely before peeling off parchment (otherwise you'll leave cookie on the paper).

To make ganache filling, put chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir thoroughly, and microwave in additional 30-second increments as needed, stirring well in between, until perfectly smooth. Sandwich cookies around a little ganache filling, and let it set before eating if you want to avoid chocolate oozing.


I regularly make these in a double batch, but I think trying to do more at once would severely risk quality (not to mention overworking your food processor!).

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4 Comments:

Blogger MWR said...

I'm not sure the phrase "leftover egg whites" entirely squares with your accompanying photo of what appears to be the Keebler bakery operation.

May 25, 2009 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

:)

Well, the rhubarb cream cakes I've been making (I made two this weekend) produce 6-9 leftover egg whites per. When you start thinking about how many nuts that is, the number of cookies doesn't seem all that staggering (the double batch--6 egg whites--I was in the process of making in these pictures produced 7 full trays of cookies).

I still have six whites in the fridge to use up. I haven't decided if I'm going to make more macaroons or maybe switch to a Swiss-meringue-based chocolate mousse (a la the filling for the buche de Noel).

May 25, 2009 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Skye said...

I have to vouch for these. And the rhubarb creme cake. Seriously yummy, both.

May 25, 2009 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Pete Pages said...

Had these yesterday thanks to your Mom. Yum.

June 10, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

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