I think my favorite part of our Apple Bretonne Tartlets is the sweet crunchy almond topping. When I was making them the other day, I had some leftover sugar soaked almonds. Bakers never like to waste anything and we also love to reinvent the wheel. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter as a template, I shaped the unbaked almond topping into round cookie shapes and popped them in the oven for 15 minutes. They disappeared quickly like magic. The bakers loved them and insisted we make them part of our cookie collection. The texture is delicately crisp and the taste is not overly sweet—and I love the added dimension of the vanilla. The extra bonus is they are gluten free—perfect for those with a wheat allergy. Now if I can only make them sugar-free for my husband Bill, that would be a miracle. I promised him I would work on it!
Makes 16 3-inch-diameter cookies
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla or the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
3 cups (12 ounces) sliced almonds with skins, lightly toasted
1 Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line 2-half sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Using a 3-inch-diameter entremet ring or straight-edged cookie cutter, place 2 rounded tablespoons of the nut mixture in the center of the ring on the sheet pans, about 1 inch apart. Using your fingers, evenly distribute the mixture. Remove the ring. Continue shaping the remaining crisps.
3. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the trays after 10 minutes and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until golden brown. Set the timer—they burn quickly!