One of the (few) things I really, really hate eating is coconut. My sister claims she is allergic to it, but for me it's a texture thing. I hate the grassy, thready, chewy-ness of coconut. As a flavour I really only like it in a curry or cooked with rice, where coconut milk really adds depth of flavour. Passover comes around, and with it an appalling array of crappy, taste-less, plasticy things which our friends at Manischevitz call macaroons. Honestly, of all the fantastic Jewish baking out there, Passover macaroons are perhaps the WORST example. Anyone who has had a can of macaroons(and really, what baked goods should come in a CAN?) left over from year to year and has seen the resulting lumped mass at the bottom knows what I am talking about.
Now, French Macarons, which are delightful and fabulous and whatnot, are not a Passover delicacy. I'm not sure why, as they meet the unleaved requirement perfectly. Maybe it's because they are a pain in the tooches to make? (Note my bitterness here. A dozen or more recipes later and I still can't get the little fuckers right.) Meringues are a good Passover option, but really, we're eating 40 dozen eggs in those 8 days. I don't really need them in my dessert as well, thanks!
This brings me to this recipe - The.Best.Passover.Cookies.EVER! I will say that the actual recipe calls these a macaroon. Yes, there is nuts and egg white involved, but these are the furthest thing from a shitty Manischevitz as is possible. They're yummy, easy to make, taste unlike any other Passover cookie you've eaten, and they, well...they just ROCK. My only complaint is that they are ugly as sin. That being said, you can pretty them up by piping them, but who has the patience for that? They are a great year-round recipe, especially for those who cannot take wheat flour.
For those who are wondering why I am posting this a full 12 days before Passover starts - well, I had to make a batch to send to my Mom in the US. Yes, I am baking them in Australia to send them to the US. They really are that good.
Quite simply, if you don't make these, eat them, and then swoon - I'll eat my hat. Literally.
Almond "Macaroons" AKA The Best Passover Cookies EVER
1/2 lb (about 2 cups), almonds
1/4 cup flour (either superfine matzah flour, potato starch or plain flour for non-passover puposes.)
3 egg whites, at room temp
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt
Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Put the almonds on an oven tray and lightly toast for about ten minutes or until brown and aromatic. Cool, then process in a food processor until you get a very coarse meal.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Still mixing, add the vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Gently fold in the ground almonds and flour.
Drop by tablespoons (or pipe) onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will be soft when finished, but harden a bit as they cool.
Yields about 30 macaroons. Store in an airtight container.