Chewy Almond Macaroons
These almond macaroon cookies take me way back to my youth. I have very clear memories of visiting St. Agnes bakery, near Perranporth in Cornwall with my father as a young lad whilst on holiday down there in the West Country.
Although this old bakery is renowned for their Cornish Pasties, we would go there especially to buy the fantastic old fashioned macaroons they sold. What really sticks in my memory is that back then the bakery would always be buzzing with very large wasps which terrified me as a kid, and I am sure this helped me develop a manic phobia for wasps! But then, August in the UK is wasp season!
I am sure they have dealt with that problem now though. We are talking about 50 years ago and the fantastic smell in that place would attract anything for miles around!
As I remember their macaroons were huge great things, deliciously soft and chewy on the inside and hard on the outside, with a rice paper bottom and a single halved almond on top. We would add these to our cornish pasty to finish off our packed lunch on the beach.
Types of Macaroons
There are several types of macaroons (not to be confused with a French macaroon or macaron, which is a meringue-based confectionery). These lead back to the origins of macaroons which were supposedly an Italian monastery in the 8th or 9th century.
Traditionally almond paste was used in the recipe and later some people added coconut to the macaroon recipe to change it. This, however, is an almond macaroon recipe and I use ground almonds and icing sugar.
I did actually try to make these by adding some desiccated coconut to the recipe and they turned out quite well (they were actually really delicious). But I did find the next day they had become quite hard so have not included coconut in this recipe.
Do not despair, I will soon be adding a coconut macaroon recipe to my site 🙂
Big or small?
This easy macaroons recipe will give you some rather smaller versions compared to the ones we had in Cornwall. But they taste just as good and are very moreish, so make sure you make enough of them! The small ones also fit in the cookie jar!
You could always try making them a bit bigger I suppose if you prefer, but they may take a bit more time to cook properly, and they will be more difficult to remove from the baking sheet. This is what happened when I tried making them a bit bigger.
This recipe will give you about 18-20 small cookies or maybe 10 large ones. If you are going to make big ones it may be sensible to use some rice paper, if you can get it, otherwise, they will be more difficult to remove from your baking tray, due to the soft sticky bottoms.
How to Bake Macaroons