Delicious Almond Macaroons / Almond Cookies

While I was in Morocco a few months ago, I attended a cooking class in Fes.  Over the course of about 7 hours, we made a chicken pastilla, harira soup, beet salad, and almond macaroons.  Everything was so delicious, however the macaroons were heavenly!  We bought fresh almonds, boiled them, took their skins off, and then had them ground into a paste by the local baker who had a huge food processor / grinder.  Then we made them into macaroons with the following recipe:

  • 160 grams fine semolina
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).  Beat eggs with the sugar.  Add butter, oil, baking powder and lemon zest.  Mix well.  Stir in the almonds.  Add the semolina and mix to make a moist, crumbly dough which is firm enough to shape into balls.  Wet hands (in Morocco we used orange flower water to keep hands moist which left a subtle orange taste) and take enough dough to roll a small ball.  Squeeze the dough and then form a ball.  Flatten it slightly to form a thick disc.  Roll the disc in powdered sugar and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes or until golden brown..  Transfer the cookies to racks to cool.

I recently tried recreating this recipe at home.  I substituted flour for the semolina.  I made my own almond paste by processing almonds and adding some sugar, but I also bought some pre made almond paste which I added.  The texture to aim for is almost like marzipan.  I made a rookie mistake however and set the oven to 175 F (I failed to convert the 175 degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit).  Once I noticed that the dough was not crisp enough, I increased the temperature slightly, but I was still unable to recreate the crispiness of the macaroons I had in Morocco.  Mine turned out more like cookies instead of macaroons, but even though the texture didn’t quite work out, they were still so delicious!  They lasted maybe a day and a half before they were all eaten.  If you try out the recipe, let me know how yours turned out!

 

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