brunch, desserts

jam macaroons + a thank you note.

You people.

I won’t go getting all sentimental on you (yes I will), but let me just say this; you are all fantastic. Like, you make me sort of forget how to write properly, I’m that blown away. I like you all so much, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say than you. So, I’m going to share one of my absolute favorite cookie recipes and pin a little thank you/love note to it.

I’ve been writing this blog for a little over half a year now, and in that time, a few things have struck me.

I am continually stunned at the unbelievable generosity, encouraging nature, and well, just plain kindness of the online food community. Bloggers, non-bloggers, food sites, people who just love food and/or food blogs, all of you. I was a little intimidated getting in to this to begin with; I simply didn’t know if what I wanted to bake and write about would be interesting to anyone. A part of me hoped people would find my blog, and a part of me sort of hoped no one would find me because then could just happily make things and write without fear of judgement. So I did nothing, like went out of my way to do nothing to get noticed. I just thought I’d bake and write and then worry about getting readers after I had a few recipes up. Then, disaster struck: Amy at Angry Chicken linked to my pretzel shortbread bars and whoops: all the sudden I had readers. Like, not just my mother; actual readers. When I saw people were actually (gasp!) looking at what I was doing, a whole new feeling of anxiety took over.

But then: people liked my little world over here. like, kind of really liked it. And I felt much better, and I kept doing what I know how to do; write about things that cross my mind, and bake things I want to eat. And you people just kept on looking, and reading, and sending me little messages. And I started to feel much less worried and much more excited, like really excited, to find new things to share with you.

Less than six months after what I refer to as “The Angry Chicken Incident,” I enter that insane Pi Day Pie Challenge – and won (what is wrong with you people?) – with the Apple Pi Pie, and what happens, but I get even more friends out of it. And you won’t believe me, but that’s more worth it to me than anything. I did that for fun. I do this for fun. And to have all of you around? Well, that’s just the most fun.

And now I just feel like we’re friends, all of us. My blog friend Jen over at Juanita’s Cocina put it perfectly when she said that it gets to a point where we feel like we “know” our blog friends and readers. I think the best writers leave you pieces of themselves in their writing, no matter what the subject matter is. Even if it’s about chocolate pretzels or seven-layer bars, you can hear who that person is in their thoughts. I’d like to think you hear a little bit of me underneath all that yakking about baked goods I do so often. Honestly, I can’t believe you listen. You must be the most patient group of people on the earth.

But i love you for it. I hope I continue to amuse you with food and thoughts and the odd story here and there. Starting this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I don’t know how to say thank you for everything. So thank you for everything. And I will give you one of my favorite all-season cookie recipe as a little gift. I hope you like it.

These are almond macaroons. They are divine. You can make them any time of year and take them to parties or just to coffee with a friend, and they will squeal with delight and wonder where you got those gorgeous, gem-like cookies. And you will say you made them, and they will be delighted. And they should be, because you just made them an awesome present.

I like these for several reasons. First, and most obviously, they’re beautiful. they shimmer like stars and are all crackly and inviting, just like a perfect cookie should be. They are moist, they are not too sweet, but they are decadent, showy little things. And they lie, because the dough takes almost no time to make. You need a food processor and about 10 minutes’ worth of time. They’re not sticky if you wet your hands, so rolling them into balls is a breeze, and you can make them as big or small as you’d like. I make mine on the small side – i like getting more out of a dough – but larger is fine too. I also prefer the jam-to-macaroon ratio on the smallish ones, too.

Second, I like these because they’re completely customizable. Use any jam or jelly you’d like. i used cherry and apricot for these, straining out the fruit pieces for a smooth finish. If you go for a raspberry or something along those lines, try to find a seedless variety to save yourself the work. I’ve made these maybe a dozen times or so, and I’ve used everything from blueberry jam, to a lovely strawberry/rhubarb (which was wonderful), to peach in the summer. For Christmas, I’ve used apple jelly, added the smallest bit of green color, and then used any red jam and done a red and green combination. If you want them even more sparkly, roll them in sanding sugar when they’re still in ball form.

 I know it’s not enough, really, but this is my way of saying thank you. For reading, for chatting, for writing things I love to read in return, for taking photos I drool over, for sharing recipes and stories with me, for making me laugh, for making me think, for hanging out in my little corner of the internet.

You. Are. The best. I’ll resist the urge to break into song.

Adapted from a recipe found on Martha Stewart’s website.

Almond Macaroons

  • 3 cups sliced blanched almonds
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apricot, cherry, blackberry, or any other jam you wish (remember to strain out the fruit bits if you want a smooth center)

Note: You could use almond flour instead of almonds and get away with it, but your results won’t be exactly the same. Using almonds and then grinding them imparts a moistness into the cookie you won’t find by using pre-ground almonds. It’s part of these little cookies’ charm, the slight chewy dampness, so please, use the blanched almonds and let your processor do the work for you.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, finely grind almonds, sugar, and salt. Add egg whites and vanilla; pulse until a ball forms.

With wet hands, shape pieces of dough into little balls (dough will be very sticky) anywhere from 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Use moist finger to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake until crackly and light golden, 15 to 17 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, warm jam over low heat or in microwave in 10 to 15-second intervals until slightly liquefied, stirring frequently. It’s ready when it’s melty and easy to spoon. using a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, strain the fruit bits from the jam. If it’s too hot or too thinned-out, let cool slightly before spooning into your cookies. Spoon jam filling into each cookie. Let set, about 15 minutes.

A word about storage/transportation: the only drawback is that these really shouldn’t be stacked upon each other. Your jam runs the risk of getting smudged. I’d keep these, single-layer, in an airtight container with a lid that won’t touch the cookie tops. Transportation, same thing. In a pinch, I’ve put a sheet of wax paper over the tops (only on the day after baking, when the jam has set more firmly) and then wrapped them somewhat loosely in plastic wrap.

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  • Reply sara April 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Love these macaroons – just SO pretty and festive, and they look delicious!

    • Reply shannon April 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      thank you so much! they feel festive, with their shiny little centers. and they’re easy, which is a little treat for the person making them. 🙂

  • Reply Jen @ Juanita's Cocina April 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

    You. are. MY favorite.

    Also, apricot jam is my favorite. In case you were wondering. And why wouldn’t you be?

    It’s a long Easter weekend for me. If I don’t see you until after Easter, I hope you have many sweet things to eat. And that many eggs are found. AND that you party like a rock star all weekend long. (although I’m not sure partying like a rock star is appropriate for Easter weekend…)

    • Reply shannon April 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      (ahem) oh no no; you are my favorite.

      we are like food twins! first lemon, now apricot jam. i know what i’m making you for a christmas cookie, but i’m not telling you.

      i hope you have a good easter, and that it turns out to be long in a good way and not a tiresome way. we’re on our way to having too many sweet things to eat, which is fine by me. 🙂 i’ll party in the best way i know how to party…food, and then nap. maybe face down in the grass outside if it’s sunny.

  • Reply Brianne April 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Thank you, Shannon, for being one of my bloggy friends! I’ve had a harder time finding people to connect with through blogging, but the few connections I have made give me more than enough motivation to keep writing. I always look forward to your posts–it’s a pleasure to read each one and ogle your gorgeous photos.

    I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! You’re going to bust out one heck of a Momofuku cake!

    • Reply shannon April 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      thank YOU, brianne! i think you’re one of the first people i made a connection with (and doesn’t that seem like forever ago?) and i’ve been so grateful for the company, the conversation, and to hear about what’s going on in your world – and in your kitchen – on your blog. if i’ve learned anything, blogs like ours are worth writing no matter how many people read them; like face-to-face friends, it’s about quality and not quantity. 🙂 you write beautifully; keep it up!

      you have a great easter too! we’re in mid-bake here for the weekend, and that Momofuku cake is happily stacked and in the freezer. i’ll be shooting photos out when i unwrap it from its acetate strip cocoon. 🙂

  • Reply Amrita (Beetlebuggy) April 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I totally know what you mean about the anxiety of starting a blog and then having readers come over and read about everything you’re doing or thinking. But, having met some of the awesomest blog friends through my blog, I can’t help but feel extremely happy at the end of the day!

    I love these little macarons! I’ve been treasuring a recipe for something similar which happens to be a holiday cookie, but, I’m going to make it now anyway! 😉 Jam on anything has my vote.

    • Reply shannon April 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      amrita, you don’t know how much it means to me to hear other bloggers who have gone through the same feelings of anxiety and nerves that i did; you start to feel like less of a weirdo, you know? 🙂 and the friends and connections you make do make it all worth it.
      thank you! i whip these out almost every christmas, but they work well anytime. and i’m with you: you put jam on a shoe and i’ll eat it. thankfully these taste better than that flavor combination. 🙂

  • Reply Katherine @ eggton April 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    You are just. . . just wonderful. I want to jump around with you in your kitchen to celebrate. I’m with you, sister. Starting a blog was one of the best things I’ve done in my whole life. It’s magical. The whole thing is so gut-wrenchingly and rewardingly, blissfully magical. I adore your site. I’m so glad it exists. MUAH.


    • Reply shannon April 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      oh katherine, you put it just perfectly; it’s difficult to find words for how i feel about it, but that covers it. the feeling is totally mutual; your posts are the ones i read first thing in the morning when my brain needs a good giggle to begin the day. just like my morning coffee, it never disappoints. 🙂 big MUAH back. and some virtual kitchen-jumping.

  • Reply movita beaucoup April 7, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Well, this post is the bestest ever. I love your little corner of the cosmos. I, too, want to jump around in your kitchen to celebrate. Woman, if you’ve done all of this in six months, I can’t wait to see what’s to come… I loves yah. xox

    • Reply shannon April 9, 2012 at 6:09 am

      you are totally invited to the kitchen jump-around! i’m just happy to be here. and grateful i get to have friends who allow me to bake their cake, read their hilarious posts, and look longingly at their photos. 🙂 i loves ya too.

  • Reply Angie April 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I recently stumbled upon your blog (yes, Pi Day!) and immediately added you to my RSS reader! I’ve been drooling over the Fruity Pebbles & Marshmallow cookies but I actually pushed these cookies to the top of my project list this weekend. My family has lots of dietary need/wants and this met the bill for everyone! The cookies were a big hit – especially with my grandmother who can’t eat gluten. Thanks so much for this easy, pretty, allergy-friendly recipe!

    • Reply shannon April 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      yay for Pi Day! i’ve made so many new friends because of that pie, i swear, and it’s so nice to have you here. 🙂 SO good to hear the fruity pebble cookies worked for you! they’re one of my favorites so far and a lot of fun to make, and i’m happy they were a hit with your family. you are so welcome.

      • Reply Angie March 5, 2022 at 12:54 am

        Do you think it would be possible to make these with pecans? I have a bag in my fridge & thought I might try it.

        • Reply Angie March 14, 2022 at 12:58 am

          Just wanted to update – I made these with pecans & brown sugar and they were delicious! I used raspberry jam – something else might’ve stood up to the pecans a little better, but they were a delicious bite!

  • Reply Kim Bee April 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    These little macaroons are adorable. Almost too pretty to eat. I’d eat them anyway though. It’s just how I roll. I loved the “not just my mother” part, had me in stitches.

    • Reply shannon April 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      thank you! agreed; they are almost too pretty, but somehow we manage to devour them; it’s how i roll too.

  • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    These are adorable! I love the idea of fruit and almonds together. Will this work if I use the whole eggs?

    • Reply shannon June 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      hi, Aruna, and thank you! They really are a good all-purpose cookie, and one of my favorite to make. I’ve never tried using whole eggs in this recipe, but in other recipes, i have found that using whole eggs instead of egg whites (or vice versa) does change the texture and consistency. To what degree it will change this one, i’m not sure, but it won’t be exactly the same as what you see here. when i do substitute (in general), i use 1 egg for every 2 egg whites, if that helps: let me know how they turn out for you if you do make them that way!

      • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

        Thank you. 🙂

      • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

        Someone just posted a recipe for “Macaroon Kisses”, with chocolate kisses…and your two leftover egg yolks. How perfect a match is that? Chocolate to go with your jam, and yolks to go with your whites. LOL. I think I’ll make both recipes together.

  • Reply Dina June 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    great recipe!

  • Reply Monica June 3, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Quick question — in the post, you state the dough is not sticky…but then, in the recipe, you state the dough is very sticky. I’m confused as to what I should actually expect. Would you please clarify? Thanks!

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Hi Monica – good catch! 🙂 So the dough is sticky, but if you wet your hands like I mention in the directions, they won’t stick to your hands as you roll them. I see where I said in the post that they dough isn’t sticky – clearly I didn’t finish my thought there, because it should read (and it does now, thanks to you) that the dough isn’t sticky so long as you wet your hands. Thanks!

  • Reply Rosanne January 10, 2019 at 7:54 am

    I’m so impressed with the details of your recipes! Brava!

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