These cookies look nice tinted with a few drops of green food coloring added to the batter. The batter has a thinner texture than some macaron batters and will create a thinner cookie if baked on a silicone liner rather than on parchment paper. But either way, the taste will be the same.
Servings: 50 cookie sandwiches
- For the cookies
- 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) slivered or sliced blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) roasted pistachio nuts, salted or unsalted
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 drops green food coloring, or enough to tint the batter a soft green
- For the filling
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (to allow for a thoroughly heated oven). Line the bottoms of 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Place the confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process with several short pulses to aerate. Add the almonds and pistachios, and process for about 2 minutes, until the nuts are finely ground, stopping the motor every so often to break up any clumps that form in the bottom of the bowl. Transfer to a large bowl, breaking up any clumps.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form; then, still beating, gradually add the granulated sugar. Beat until the egg whites are glossy and voluminous and form stiff peaks. Reduce the speed to low; add the almond extract and the food coloring, and mix just to incorporate.
Use a spatula to fold half of the beaten egg whites into the sugar mixture to partially combine and lighten it. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites until no white streaks remain and they are completely incorporated; do not overmix.
Fit a large pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (1-centimeter) plain tip. Spoon the batter into the bag. Holding the pastry bag upright, pipe blobs of batter about 1 inch in diameter, spaced 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets; you should be able to fit 36 cookies on each sheet. Let sit uncovered on a flat surface at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. The tops will look smooth and lose their shine, and the batter will spread slightly.
Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for about 12 minutes or until the tops feel firm and crisp when lightly touched. If using a parchment paper liner, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then peel the cookies from the paper by pressing them off from the underside. Or, to ensure that the cookies release easily, as soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully lift the parchment one end at a time and sprinkle a total of about 2 tablespoons of water under the paper, moving the paper around a little to distribute the moisture more evenly. The steam will loosen the cookie bottoms from the paper. After 3 minutes (and no longer), lift the paper liner from the baking sheet and peel the cookies from the paper. If any of them stick, slide a thin metal spatula under the bottoms to loosen them. If using a silicone liner, let the macarons rest on the lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, then peel off the macarons. Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to use all of the batter; you should end up with at least 100 bite-size cookies.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and almond extract in the large bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Mix in the food coloring, if using.
When ready to fill, turn half of the cooled macarons bottom side up. Use a small rounded knife to spread about 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling over each cookie bottom, or use the pastry bag and tip to pipe the filling onto the cookies. Press the flat bottoms of the remaining cookies onto the filling to create about 50 small macaron sandwiches. (You may have a little filling left over.) Serve, or cover and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
From cookbook author Elinor Klivans.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.