One of the things that I admire most about my parent's marriage is how they always seem to find time for each other. They have been married for over 30 years, and even though both of their schedules are outrageously busy they still manage to always get time to connect one on one - usually over a cup of tea. There is just something so perfect and comforting about a cup of hot tea at the end of the day, and these cookies are so perfect for tea! They are crunchy on the outside but delicious and chewy on the inside…they are not your typical meringue either.
Unlike the expected meringue “cookie,” these cookies are made with freshly cracked and ground almonds, giving them a taste that far surpasses anything that could be found in a meringue. They do however have the same simplistic recipe that meringues do, and are also a very versatile cookie. They can be made bite sized or fist size, and they taste wonderful either way.
The beauty of such a simple recipe such as this is that it can almost be considered healthy! It is a dairy free and gluten free recipe, so it can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Another great thing about these cookies is that they can store for a really long time. The harder outside of the cookie will make it difficult for the cookie's chewy center to also become hard. Even if you bake the cookies for something other than tea, you will find that their versatility and simplicity will please whoever is enjoying them. I definitely recommend brewing a pot of English Breakfast Tea while these cookies are in the oven or cooling down; their subtle sweetness perfectly complements the richness of the tea.
1 ¾ cups peeled* almonds
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
To peel almonds: after cracking them, put them in a pot of water and boil them for 5-10 minutes. When they are done boiling, drain them and rub the skins off with a rough dish towel. The skins can also be removed individually, however that would be very time consuming.
Grind the almonds in a food processor until they are a semi-fine meal. Put half of the sugar in the food processor with the ground almonds, and blend until completely combined. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are soft peaks. Add in the other half of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Gently fold in the almond/sugar mixture and both of the extracts. Make sure you evenly combine everything and there aren't large patches of meringue or almond. Use a spoon to scoop small amounts of the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let the unbaked cookies sit out for 1 to 2 hours, and then bake at 325 for 15 to 20 minutes.