These almond macaroons are the ones my mother has been making for 50 years. Unlike their elaborate French cousins, these English almond macaroons are quick and easy to make (I love quick and easy!) and taste just as good. They don’t look quite as beautiful but, in my experience, that isn’t a problem because they won’t last long once your friends and family get started on them.These macaroons do require a couple of special ingredients. The first is rice paper, which is an edible wafer paper (and is sometimes sold as such). This is the base for the macaroons. It adds to the texture and for me is a real bonus because it means the baking sheet stays clean – less washing up! (Rice paper has a very long shelf life so, unless you hate these macaroons and never make them again, you can keep it until you need it.)
The second ingredient is semolina, which you may have in your cupboard anyway. You can also use it to make semolina pudding if you like milk puddings. It’s pretty yummy with jam and especially good for children who need to increase their milk intake! I use it in other recipes, such as shortbread, so you won’t get stuck with it unused until it reaches its use-by date when you throw it away. This is not in my everyday cooking philosophy. In fact, the original recipe used ground rice, which can also be used in all these ways, but I couldn’t find any in my local supermarkets or online. You can use them interchangeably, so if you already have ground rice, do use that instead, and if you are cooking for a coeliac then you will have to search it out.
Almond Macaroons - the English kind
- Set the oven to 140°C fan, gas mark 3
- Put 2 sheets of rice paper on the baking sheets, making sure the smooth side is down
For the Almond Macaroons:
- Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff
- Add the orange flower water
- Add the caster sugar, ground almonds and semolina and fold in. You will end up with quite a stiff mixture
- Place small heaps, well spaced out, onto the rice paper
- Put a flaked almond on top of each and slightly flatten with your hand
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly coloured
- When the macaroons are cool enough to be handled, move them to a wire cooling rack, tearing off the excess rice paper as you go.