Instructions

  1. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the almond paste, sugar, and salt until the mixture is uniformly crumbly. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing to make a smooth paste. Stir in the almond extract.

  3. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared pans.

  4. Dust the cookies generously with confectioners’ sugar, then use three fingers to press an indentation into the center of each cookie. Refrigerate the shaped cookies, uncovered, for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

  5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F.

  6. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, just until they’re brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan on a rack.

  7. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • The traditional version of these cookies features a hint of lemon or orange. Use 1/8 teaspoon lemon or orange oil in place of the almond, if desired.
  • Want to make these cookies kosher for Passover? Use this sugar blend in place of the confectioners' sugar: 1 cup granulated sugar processed or blended until fine with 1 tablespoon potato starch.
  • For a chocolate-almond version: Add 1 cup chocolate chips to the dough right after you've added the egg whites. Bake as directed. Yield: 28 cookies.
  • For an Italian pignoli version: Using about 2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pine nuts (pignoli); dip the tops of unbaked cookies in the nuts. Flatten them gently on the baking sheet, and bake as directed.
  • After publishing this recipe we discovered that different brands of almond paste produce varying results in the cookies' texture. After extensive testing, we decided that 16 ounces of almond paste is the amount that's most likely to produce good results across the whole spectrum of brands. If your preferred brand of almond paste is "Love n' Bake”, use 10 ounces. You also do not have to refrigerate the cookies before baking if you choose this brand of almond paste.