Bake the Book: Macarons de San Francisco

[Photograph: David Vergne]

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If you've had your fill of dainty pastel melt-in-your-mouth jam sandwich cookies, these macarons from La Boulange Cookbook: Cafe Cooking at Home are a rustic breath of fresh air, composed of nothing more complicated than hazelnut or almond meal, egg whites, and sugar.

Tips: The key to proper texture here is a strong meringue. Separating 9 whites from yolks is a tedious task, but if you're conscientious and don't let a single strand of yolk get into your whites, they should whip up nicely. Break one at a time over a smaller bowl so you won't have to start over if one yolk refuses to cooperate.

Tweaks: The simple structure of these cookies makes them somewhat amenable to additions. The book suggests coconut shavings or chocolate chips (though, as is stated, adding chocolate will cause "...traditionalists to turn in their graves.")

Almond meal and hazelnut meal can be expensive, hard to come by, or both. If you have a powerful food processor, make your own by pulsing handfuls of nuts at a time until they form a powdery meal.

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Macarons de San Francisco »

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of La Boulange Cookbook to give away.