This recipe is an adaptation of Italian amaretti. It calls for macadamias, but hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts would also be good. Using nuts in baking allows you to incorporate their heart-healthy fats--and satisfying texture. If you are sensitive to ginger, use the lower end of the called-for range.
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup crystallized ginger
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 300°.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; secure with masking tape.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour and nuts in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Reserve 1 tablespoon flour mixture in food processor; set remaining flour mixture aside. Add ginger to food processor; pulse 8 times or until finely minced. Stir into remaining flour mixture; set aside.
Place egg whites in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed 1 minute or until soft peaks form. Beating at high speed, gradually add the sugar and honey; beat 4 minutes or until thick and glossy. Gently fold in flour mixture and rind. Drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 300° for 18 minutes or until set. Remove from baking sheets, and cool on a wire rack.
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I used ground almonds for these cookies, to make them more like the original Italian version. I froze them successfully, and sent some across country 3 day air, successfully. They were the favorite cookie of several of my recipients, among about 6 kinds of cookies I made. Some of them did flatten out more than the photo, but it didn't seem to affect the taste and quality of the cookie.
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