This is the cookie that may not make it to see Christmas Day - I may eat them all before then! I just love almond paste and anything made with it. I first saw these cookies being made on the Martha Stewart Show and I knew had to work them into my baking schedule. They come together pretty quickly with few ingredients. The rolling in egg and sugar is the most time consuming. And then you let them sit for 30 minutes, pinch, and bake. The result is a chewy almondy-orange inside with a crispy outside. If you like almond macaroons, you'll LOVE these!
Pinched Orange Macaroons
from Patrick Lemble, pastry chef at The Four Seasons
Makes 5 dozen.
2 large egg whites, separated
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for rolling and coating
1 pound almond paste
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking mats; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 egg white and almond extract. Add confectioners' sugar and almond paste; beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add orange zest and orange liqueur; beat to combine, about 1 minute.
Lightly dust work surface with confectioners' sugar. Turn dough out onto work surface; roll into two 3/4-inch-thick logs, about 18 inches long. Cut each log crosswise into 30 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
Lightly beat remaining egg white. Coat each ball with egg white and roll in sugar, tapping to remove excess (I used a spoon to roll in egg and sugar); transfer to prepared baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pinch each piece of dough with three fingers to form an irregular pyramid shape. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.