One day I’ll conquer macarons. But in the meantime, this GF recipe is similar in ingredients, much easier to make, and with a uniquely lovely result. The crackled exterior, showing lines of biscuit through the icing sugar, is stunning.
I’ve scaled up Sandra Heinze’s recipe (she got it from a BreadAhead course). These biscuits would make great gifts.
Makes: 34 biscuits
- 175g icing sugar
- 105g egg whites (approximately 3 large eggs, separated)
- 280g white caster sugar
- 450g ground almonds
- 3/4 tsp runny honey
- scant 1/4 tsp almond extract (just 3-4 drops or so)
- 2 baking trays
- Baking/parchment paper
- 1 large mixing bowl and 1 small bowl
- Electric mixer (hand-held or stand)
- A cooling rack
- Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted). Line both trays with baking paper.
- Sift the icing sugar into a small mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they reach ‘soft peaks’ (i.e. when you lift the beaters up, the peaks flop over after a second or two).
- Manually stir in the caster sugar, almonds, honey, and extract until it’s fully combined and you have a soft, crumbly, and sticky dough.
- Squidge the dough into 34 balls 25g each. Roll each ball in the icing sugar, ensuring it’s fully covered, and pack as much on top of that as will stay on.
- Place on prepared baking trays 3x4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the trays halfway through for even baking. Remove the trays from the oven and put the biscuits on a cooling rack. Let the trays cool for 10 minutes before loading up with the remaining balls and baking.
- They will feel soft-ish when just out of the oven, but as they cool they’ll harden slightly on the outside, leaving a sumptuously chewy inside.
As with so many recipes, the same ingredients can be found being used in different shapes or slightly different preparation methods. I’ve discovered there’s a version of these from a different Italian region called ‘Ricciarelli Biscuits’ – they’re diamond-shaped, and dusted with icing sugar after baking.
Go rampant with your personalisation of this recipe. Instead of almond extract, you could add orange, lemon, vanilla, cherry, coconut, coffee, or whatever you desire. I might draw the line at peppermint extract, though – but if that ticks your box, go for it!
If you have gel food colouring, you can do wonderful things. You can match colour to extract (i.e. yellow with lemon extract; orange colour with orange extract; red with cherry extract; etc), or, go against the grain by cross-matching colour with flavour. Be creative! Add the gel food colouring to the ingredients in Step 4.
Here are yellow (vanilla), green (lemon), and black (almond):