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Almond and Chocolate Nougatines

With a body and personality somewhere between a meringue and biscotti, these crisp little cookies are light and delicious, and oh-so ‘more-ish’ with their dark chocolate drizzle! First, egg whites are whipped into stiff peaks (as for meringues); then ground almonds and flour are added (introducing elements of biscotti); finally this hybrid mixture is spiraled onto the baking sheet —  and voilà, the nougatine!

By the way, this recipe is easily converted to provide a gluten-free offering. Simply substitute  a gluten-free baking mix (we like King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour) for the self-rising flour, and add 1/3 tsp. of baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Almond and Chocolate Nougatines

3 large egg whites
4 oz. caster (superfine white) sugar (½ cup plus 2 tbs.)
3 oz. ground almonds (¾ cup)
1 oz. self-rising flour (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp. almond extract
3.5 oz. dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

Heat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the egg whites into a large, grease-free bowl and use a handheld electric mixer (or a standing mixer with the whisk attachment) to whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking after each addition. Use a spatula to gently fold in the ground almonds, flour, and almond extract.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe 2-inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. (You can also use a zip-lock bag snipped at the corner.) Bake for 35 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle over the cookies and leave to set. (If you are anxious to nip into these cookies, as we were, we found that popping them into the fridge sets the chocolate rapidly.)

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