Almond Macaroons (Acı Badem Kurabiyesi)

Aci Badem Kurabiyesi 014


In Turkey, you can find these cookies in practically every bakery. If there is one Turkish cookie, this is it. These macaroons are referred to as "bitter almond cookies" since they used to mix a small amount of bitter almonds in the dough. However, because bitter almonds are not safe to eat, they are no longer easy to find even in Turkey and they are certainly not available in the US.  In this recipe, we have substituted almond extract in place of bitter almonds.

These macaroons are relatively easy to make. The trick is the consistency of the dough and you will learn the feel of it after a few tries.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 oz almonds
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (from ~ 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 18 - 20 whole blanched almonds

Makes about 10 cookies, approximately 150 calories in each cookie.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 275F.  You may have to optimize this temperature since sadly, ovens are notoriously bad in measuring the temperature accurately.
  • We recommend using a silicone baking sheet, which you can easily find in kitchen stores.  If you do not have one, you can use baking sheets but you have to be careful when you pull your cookies off the paper.  They are very delicate.
  • If you are beginning with whole blanched almonds, grind them finely in your food processor. You can also use raw almonds with their brown skins, the cookies will be a little darker but you may even like that. Alternatively, you can use almond meal or almound flour from your grocery store.
  • Combine the almonds, almond extract, sugar and egg whites in a non-stick pan.
  • At very very very low heat, allow the sugar to melt while mixing the batter continuously with a wooden spoon. Approximately 10 minutes should be sufficient to reach the desired consistency. In this step, the temperature is very critical, we do not want to cook the egg whites.
  • Pour the mixture onto a cold surface and let it cool down to room temperature. This can be a non-stick silicone liner. You have to be patient here! The batter hardens as it cools down and this is essential for the cookies to preserve their shapes when you drop them on the tray one by one.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to the mixture, mix well.
  • Transfer to pastry bag. Pipe 1.5 - 2 inch mounds onto the baking sheet. If the mixture is too dry for piping, add a teaspoon or two of egg whites. If the mixture is too runny, add almond flour. When dropped, the cookies should not spread on the baking sheet easily. Achieving this consistency is the most important thing you will have to learn.
  • Optional: Place a whole blanched almond on each cookie - the original recipe calls for half an almond on each cookie - we believe this is preferred to reduce the weight of the the almond so the cookie can rise freely.
  • Bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes.
  • Move the tray to the upper rack and set the temperature to low broil (if your oven has this feature). Broil until the macaroons turn light brown.
  • Do not overbake these cookies. They will harden fairly quickly - they are supposed to have a thin crust with a chewy core. For the same reason, when you take the tray out of the oven, we recommend taking the baking sheet off the hot tray so the cookies do not continue baking. This is very easy to do if you use a silicone sheet or baking sheet on your tray.
  • To remove the cookies off the baking sheet, wait until they cool down to the room temperature.
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