These Christmas cookies from Chef Michael Young of Ombra restaurant are delicate and delicious. They are made with mostly almonds and almond paste. They are known as pasta reale in Italy and are very popular around the holidays.
8 oz. blanched almonds
14 oz. almond paste
2 Tbsp. egg whites
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all dry ingredients. Gently pulse until combined. Add vanilla and egg whites and continue to pulse until dough is combined.
Gently need dough until it is no longer sticky. Remove small pieces of dough and roll into 3/4 inch balls. Toss in powdered sugar. Place on parchment lined bake sheet, 1 inch apart. You may choose to garnish with a whole almond or maraschino cherry, by gently inserting it in the dough. Repeat until all dough is rolled. Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes or until lightly tan.
Let cool on wire rack. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.