These slightly chewy macaroons are often served with an afternoon cup of tea or glass of Spanish muscatel.
Servings: 20 - 32 cookies
- 1 small (4 to 5 ounces) russet potato, peeled
- 1 pound blanched or slivered almonds
- 1/2 lemon (grated zest only)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups pine nuts
Fill a small pan 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Add the potato and cook until it is easily pierced with a knife, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potato to a plate and mash thoroughly with a fork. Discard the cooking liquid.
In a food processor, chop the almonds until they become a nut flour. Add the mashed potato and lemon zest, and pulse until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a wide medium-size bowl and set aside.
In a small, heavy-bottomed pan on high heat, stir together the sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 3 minutes.
Continue cooking until the mixture registers 250 degrees on a candy thermometer or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a hard ball, then remove from the heat.
Pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the almond mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until a dough is formed. (You may have sugar syrup left over.) Let the dough cool for at least 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.
Have ready two small bowls, one filled with the egg white and one with the pine nuts. Using your hands and working in assembly-line fashion, shape the dough into walnut-size balls, coat each ball in the egg white and then roll in the pine nuts, pressing them into the dough so that they don't fall out during baking. As you work, place the balls on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 375 degrees until the cookies are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Adapted from "Barcelona: Authentic Recipes Celebrating the Foods of the World," edited by Paul Richardson and Chuck Williams (Williams-Sonoma/Oxmoor House, 2004).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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