If you’re like me than half of the reason you look forward to vacation is to eat. My husband and I call this condition Vacation Stomach and symptoms include, trying any fare that cannot be found in our home city and eating copious amounts of food just because it’s that delicious. In Autumn of 2010, we made our first trip to Boston and that was the year I got Vacation Stomach for Italian macaroons (also known as Amaretti cookies).
My hips blame our friend, who grew up in Massachusetts, for even telling me about Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End. It was Italian bakery heaven and I’m pretty sure I had to purchase pastry every time we passed by while touring the city. After returning home, I still thought about those cookies. I thought about them so much that last Christmas I cracked and ordered 3 pounds of goodness from Mike’s. As I got my hands on my beloved cookies, I told myself that I had to find a recipe to make these.
And I finally did…today! These cookies are full of sweet almond flavor, they have a crisp outer shell, and a soft chewy center. If I close my eyes and think about Boston while eating these, I almost feel like I’m standing outside of Mike’s Pastry. Almost.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2009
Makes: about 24 2-inch cookies, Difficulty: Beginner
- 8 ounces pure almond paste (not marzipan)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- maraschino cherries, halved
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F with racks adjusted to the middle and upper third in the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Crumble almond paste in a medium bowl. Add in sugar. With a hand mixer, mix on low until almond paste and sugar resemble course crumbs. Add in egg whites and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1M star tip and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds about 1-inch apart in pans. If you are not using a pastry bag, these cookies can also be spooned into 1 1/2-inch rounds. Gently press a half of a maraschino cherry into the tops of the cookies.
Bake for 8 minutes, rotating and switching the position of the pans. Bake for an additional 7-9 minutes until puffed, tops are dry, and slightly golden.
Let cookies cool almost completely in their pans. Once cool, remove the cookies from the parchment paper. If you are having a difficult time removing them from the paper, use a damp cloth to wipe under the parchment.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.
- Note: These are sweet cookies! I cut the sugar down from 1 cup in the original recipe to 3/4 cup. I would say that the sugar can be reduced further to 1/2 cup and should not change the consistency.