For me, the word ‘Macaroon’ is not something I associate with the popular French biscuit, but with a bakery sweet in Mangalore, a city near my native place Udupi. It’s a very coveted and loved sweetmeat. For as long as I can remember, whenever we went to Udupi from Bombay for the holidays, we would bring back packets of City Bakery’s famous Macaroons. They are crunchy, munchy cashew fluffs descended from, what I can only imagine is, food heaven.
I haven’t eaten them in a couple of years now and it was a moment of epicurean nostalgia to not just see pictures, but a recipe for these from Shweta’s Sizzling Wok (recipe credit: Just Indian Food). I had all the ingredients at home. I went into the kitchen at 23:00 and by 00:30 the macaroons were out of the oven and melting in my mouth.
Now the recipe ingredients confused me as the method didn’t have any baking powder. So I just eliminated the baking powder and voila! Memory trip back to City Bakery’s blue-and-red logo paper bag full of aromatic cashew macaroons!
Cashewnuts (unsalted): 1 and 1/4th cup
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp.
Egg: 1 no. (at room temperature)
Sugar (finely powdered) : 1 cup
1. Chop the cashewnuts coarsely.
2. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees celsius (90 degrees if you want them less roasted).
3. Make sure the egg white has no traces of the yolk. In a mixing bowl, beat it stiff till absolute stiff peaks form. (As an ultimate test of stiff peaks, turn the bowl over your head. If it doesn’t fall great. If it falls, use it as a hair mask! :D)
4. Gradually add the sugar in parts to the egg white and beat well. Continue till the entire cup of sugar is used up.
5. Beat in the cardamom powder.
6. Toss in the cashewnuts and fold into the mix until well coated.
7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
8. Drop the cashew mix in one-tablespoon mounds on the tray. Don’t worry about the shape. Messier the better!
9. Place tray in the lower rack of your oven. Let it bake for 35-40 minutes (only way to hold your patience is to watch your favorite boxset on telly!).
Two ways to serve them – place them on a beautiful tray and keep clicking photos. Or…..eat them straight off the oven, who cares about the damn photos?!