Three out of four of this month's Tuesdays with Dorie recipes leave you with left-over egg whites. Argh! I already have three one-cup containers of frozen egg whites in storage! It's time to start using up the egg whites.
For my first try, I decided to make some home-made Amaretti cookies. As they were going to be part of the Chocolate Amaretti Torte for Tuesdays with Dorie, I wanted to make them dry and crunchy, so I put them back into the warm oven to dry out after baking them. This worked very well. They ended up like dry, crunchy rocks with just a faint trace of "chew" at the center. My husband was disappointed -- he wanted to eat some of them! Next time I will save some for eating and only dry out part of the batch.
There are a lot of Amaretti recipes out there on the Web. I based my version on these three, but reduced the sugar a lot.
From Joy of Baking: http://www.joyofbaking.com/AmarettiCookies.html
From MyRecipes: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1545760
From Solo Foods: http://solofoods.com/Almond_Macaroons.aspx
Recipe and directions:
1 8-ounce can (227 gm) almond paste (I used Solo brand)
1/2 cup (100 gm) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large egg whites (60 gm)
more granulated sugar for sprinkling
Place almond paste into food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse to break up the paste until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add sugar and salt and pulse until it looks like fine crumbs. With processor running, add egg whites in 4 additions. The mixture may form a ball at first, but once you've added all the egg whites, it should become softer. Process another minute or two. It should be a smooth, soft paste.
Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch round tip (or smaller for minis) or with a coupler. Put some plastic wrap over the open tip of the bag, fold down the top of the bag, and refrigerate for 2 hours or so to let the sugar finish dissolving.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets. Preheat oven to 325 F. Pipe into small balls about 1 inch across. (I ended up with 27 of them. Your results may vary.) Moisten your fingers with cool water and gently flatten the pointed tops. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar.
Bake for about 20-22 minutes, until cracked and dry on the tops, golden brown around edges, and beginning to be golden on top. Let cool for about 10 minutes, still on pans. Keep oven door closed but turn off heat.
If you want to save some soft, chewy cookies for eating, remove as many as you want and place on racks. Place the remainder back in oven and prop oven door slightly open. Let sit for about 30 minutes or more in warm oven to finish drying out.
Peel them off the silicone sheet. If you used parchment and they don't want to come off, dampen back of parchment slightly and wait a minute or two.