First, this is the most chewy cookies I’ve ever tasted in my life. I mean good-chewy! Very interesting texture as well, because it had crispy exterior, while boasting this wonderful soft grainy interior that feels surprisingly good to chew.
Second, it tasted so good, thanks to ground almond. If you’re a sweet-tooth, this is for you. If you don’t fancy cardamom, or any spices, simply ignore it. Me, a spice freak, loved the cardamom so much. In fact, I think it’s the “it” factor that made you go “mmm”. Note: use green cardamom, a.k.a. Indian cardamom. Not the white ones, a.k.a. Arabian cardamom. Ground it with mortar and pestle, a.k.a. your good old cobek.
Third, it freezes wonderfully. So you can make batches of them now, while you still have time and energy, and freeze them for Idul Fitri or whenever. Or keep them in stock for your everyday craving (true story).
Ultimately, fourth, this is dead-easy to make. A child can even bake it with eyes closed, I’m tellin’ ya.
Nigella’s Chewy Cardamom Macaroons
Modified by Riana
200g ground almonds
200g caster sugar (I reduced it to 160 g)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground cardamom (the green one, freshly grounded)
2 egg whites
1-2 tablespoons rosewater (nope, didn’t use it. But it’s nice to try it for once.)
approx 25g blanched almonds, 28 in number
(didn’t use either. I would though, if only my wallet allowed me to.)
- Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Mix together the ground almonds, sugar, ground cardamom and egg whites and knead with your hands, or use the flat beater in a freestanding mixer until you have a coherent paste (I used the whisk in my electric mixer, and it turned out fine). This is thick, and needs to be, so the mixer is the best bet.
- Sprinkle some rose water onto your hands (if using, if not, just use regular water) and, thus scented and dampened it, form little balls, about the size of smallish walnuts – out of the grainy thick paste.
- As you put them on the lined baking sheet – about 3cm apart – squish them down slightly so they are no longer balls but fat patties. Stud the center of each disc with a blanched almond (I decorated the cookies with cardamom seeds) and bake for 10-12 minutes. They will still be pretty pale when cooked but if they are beginning to turn golden at the edges, take them out of the oven and, lifting each one carefully with a spatula or fish slice, let them cool on a baking sheet.
- When cooled, store in an airtight container. You can make them ahead of time, open-freeze on a sheet for an hour, then fill plastic bags with them and keep them stashed in the deep freezer. They probably don’t need more than an hour to defrost at room temperature and be ready for the table.
Thanks, Nigella. When will you be a doll and sending me your pretty red ceramic measuring cups?