These voluminous almond cookies look so elegant dipped in chocolate and topped with whole almonds. Chocolate and almond — what a classic combination.
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup tempered chocolate pieces, or semisweet chocolate chips, tempered (see directions)
- 24 whole almonds
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar, increasing speed to medium-high until soft peaks form. Add salt then gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Gently mix in almond extract.
- Drop meringue by rounded tablespoons or pipe with a decorative tip onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 2 hours or until dry. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven 1 hour or more until crisp. Cool completely before removing from baking sheets.
- Prepare chocolate coating, tempering it if you are not serving the cookies right away so that the chocolate remains smooth and shiny. Otherwise, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, being careful not to burn it. Dip top half of each meringue in chocolate, top with an almond and place on wire rack to dry.
*To temper chocolate: Melt chocolate in a double boiler to about 115 degrees. Let it cool to around 80 degrees, while stirring. Put chocolate back over heat until temperature is 90 degrees (check with manufacturer about your particular kind of chocolate, as it can vary by a degree or two) and use as instructed.
Variation: For a different look, you can substitute slivered or chopped almonds for the whole almonds.
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