The cookie ingredients are the same as the original recipe (except I also added a pinch of salt,) but I decided to take the preparation in a totally different direction with wonderful results. Chef Payard uses a food processor and pulses the ingredients into a smooth dough. In my version the egg whites and sugar are first whipped to stiff peaks making a meringue-like cookie, and then the almond flour along with finely chopped candied orange peel, ginger, and dried cranberries are folded into the dough to give little bursts of flavors as you bite into each cookie. These gluten-free and dairy-free cookies have marvelous holiday flavors with a slightly chewy texture.
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- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, chopped very fine
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped very fine
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped fine
- 2½ cups almond flour
- 4 large egg whites
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- About ½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- In a medium size bowl combine the chopped orange peel, chopped candied ginger, and chopped dried cranberries with the almond flour. Stir to mix, separating the fruits so they don’t stick together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the salt and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar in a slow steady stream while continuing to beat. Beat about 2 minutes longer until stiff meringue forms with still shiny peaks.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle the almond flour and fruit mixture over the meringue in three additions, folding each addition in with a large rubber spatula.
- Transfer the dough mixture to a medium sized bowl, cover, and freeze overnight. Tip: the dough must be frozen, not refrigerated, to become stiff enough to form into balls for baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- For Rolling: Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.
- Remove the chilled dough from the freezer. Shape dough into small balls, about 1” in diameter and using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each ball. Roll each ball in confectioner’s sugar and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Return the remainder of the dough to the freezer until ready to use.
- Bake: Bake until cookies are light golden brown, 18 to 19 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet placed on a wire cooling rack until cooled. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets with a metal spatula.