What’s that little lump in between the orange and the tea cup in Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin’s Jar of Apricots? It’s that tasty treat, the macaroon! Sugar was a sign of wealth and priviledge in 18th-century Paris. This still-life painting is full of sweet treats that showcased Chardin’s success and status to his viewers (as a painting of caviar, truffles and foie gras would today).
Try this recipe based on one from Chardin’s time and create your own culinary!
- 1/4 c. blanched almonds (40 g)
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 c. sugar (150 g)
- 5 tbsp cake flour (30 g)
- Pinch of salt
Grind almonds 1/2 cup at a time in a blender or pass throught the fine blade of a good chopper (or buy pre-ground). Beat the egg whites and salt together until stiff peaks are formed. Combine the sugar and the cake flour, and fold into egg whites. Fold in the almonds. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 2" or 5 cm between the cookies. Back at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) about 15 minutes, until golden brown (makes 28-30).
Variation: Coconut Macaroons – This may be more like the version of the macaroon you know and love. Gently fold 1 cup of shredded coconut and 1 tsp almond extract into the almond macaroon batter. Bake as for almond macaroons (makes 30-35).