Calissons

This traditional French sweet has a marzipan-ish quality and is typically made with candied fruit paste and ground almonds. Pastry chef Allen Morter offers a slight variation, which in his words is “a lovely mix of Provencal and New England.” The treats are topped with a hard white icing for a glazed, shiny finish making them an elegant addition to your holiday cookie swap.

Ingredients

Cookie
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
  • 7/10 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from 1 orange
Royal Icing
  • 2/5 cup egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
 

Directions

Cookie Dough:
  1. Place the dried figs, almond flour, and egg whites in a food processor. Blend to form a chunky paste.
  2. Cook sugar on the stovetop with enough water to cover until 248 degrees Fahrenheit, and add to food processor while machine is on. Continue to mix until a smooth dough is achieved.
  3. Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper to half inch thickness.
  4. Cut the dough to desired shape with a knife or small cookie cutter. (Chef's note: I do a diamond shape as a nod to the traditional almond shape.)
  5. Let dough sit at room temperature for an hour.
Icing:
  1. Place egg whites in a mixing bowl, and mix on low speed with a whisk attachment until the egg whites begins to break up.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and continue mixing on low speed until whites become frothy.
  3. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until icing holds a peak and is dull in appearance.
*Note: This formula will make more icing than is necessary for the amount of calisson. Store royal icing under refrigeration with a piece of plastic wrap or moistened paper towel directly on the surface. Cover the entire container tightly with plastic wrap to keep it air tight. (Chef's note: I'll save the excess icing for cookie or gingerbread house decoration!)
 
Finishing:
  1. Heat oven to 220-225 degrees Fahrenheit, or lowest setting oven will allow.
  2. Dip calisson cookie dough in the royal icing to coat and set on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake calisson for 5-10 minutes to firm the royal icing.
  4. Cool before consuming.

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