If it were socially acceptable, I would eat a pound of almond paste at each meal. At the risk of being considered "crazy" by my friends and family, I have chosen to focus on baking almond desserts instead. One of my favorite almond desserts is a chocolate almond torte that is made of layers of macaron and chocolate ganache. One of the reasons that I like this recipe is that the ingredients are simple: no egg yolks, no flour, and very little dairy. I also just love how this dessert looks...
Make the macaron layers: Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a ruler, draw two rectangles measuring 12" by 4" on each piece of parchment paper ensuring that there are two inches separating the two. Flip the parchment paper over so that you can see the lines but so that the ink does not bake into the macaron layers. Place on two separate baking sheets. Mix the almond flour and 7 ounces of sugar in a bowl until combined.
Using a stand mixer and a completely clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites on medium/high until soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract and then slowly add the remaining 1 1/2 ounces of sugar. Making sure to not overmix, beat on medium/high until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold nut and sugar mixture into egg whites. Using a spatula, evenly spread one quarter of the mixture within the lines of the parchment paper rectangles.
Bake macaron layers for 12 minutes and then reverse the baking sheets; continue to bake until golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch (~25 minutes). Make sure to let the layers cool on the sheets on a cooling rack before removing.
Make the ganache: Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
If the macaron layers spread too much in the oven, carefully trim with a sharp knife so that the layers stack nicely. Place the first macaron layer on whatever tray you will be using. Spread an even layer of chocolate on top. Continue with all four layers making sure that the top layer is flipped so that the flat side is facing up. Spread the remaining chocolate on the top and on the sides of the torte and then cover with almonds.
Almond Macaron Layers
10 1/2 ounces almond flour
7 ounces sugar + 1 1/2 ounces sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate
8 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
+ sliced almonds and two sheets of parchment paper