Pine Nut Macaroons

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    30

    macaroons

Appears in

These are a great favorite whenever they appear, and justly so—the deep, nutty flavor of the toasted pine nuts accentuates the smooth sweetness of the macaroons perfectly. Always use canned almond paste for preparing macaroons—the kind that comes packaged as a little cylinder has a lot more sugar in it and will result in macaroons that flatten out miserably while they are baking.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) canned almond paste, cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup confectionerssugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces/100 grams) untoasted pine nuts
  • 2 cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans lined with parchment

Method

  1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Combine the almond paste, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle on low speed until broken up into fine crumbs.
  3. Add the vanilla and one of the egg whites and continue mixing just until smooth.
  4. Add the other egg white and mix until it is just absorbed—mixing the macaroon paste too long will cause the macaroons to flatten out while they are baking.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the paste.
  6. Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) plain tube (Ateco #806), pipe the macaroon paste into ½-inch (1-cm) high spheres on the prepared pans, keeping them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on all sides. Hold the bag perpendicular to the pan with the tip about ½ inch (1 cm) above it and squeeze out a small sphere. Release the pressure and pull away—it doesn’t matter if you leave a small point at the top.
  7. Wet a clean flat-weave tea towel so that some water still drips from it and fold it into a 2-inch (5-cm) strip. Holding one of the narrow ends in each hand, position the towel over a row of macaroons. Gently lower the loosely pulled towel onto the tops of the cookies several times so they flatten slightly and are very moist on the surface. Immediately sprinkle each macaroon with some pine nuts. Repeat with the other pan.
  8. Bake the macaroons until they are well risen and deep golden, about 20 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, place the pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, place the pan on the lower rack stacked on top of a second rack for insulation.
  9. Slide the papers off the pans to cool the macaroons. To easily detach the macaroons from the paper without breaking them, sprinkle a jelly-roll pan with water. Place the paper with the macaroons on the wet pan. Wait 5 minutes, and then slide a small spatula under each macaroon to detach it.

Storage

Macaroons are best on the day they are made—after they have cooled, keep them in a single layer tightly covered with plastic wrap. Freeze for longer storage. Defrost loosely covered and bring to room temperature before serving.

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