Traditional almond horns have no chocolate—perhaps for good reason, since it can cause them to spread and lose their characteristic crunchiness. But all is not lost for chocolate lovers.
have your horn and crunch it, too,provided you shave the chocolate and stir it into the batter without letting it melt.The chocolate taste is subtle but nonetheless satisfying.
MAKES 1 DOZEN LARGE, CRESCENT-SHAPED COOKIES
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1⁄4 teaspoon salt One 7-ounce tube almond paste
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. Beat the egg whites and salt in a small bowl with a fork until frothy; set aside.
2. Cut the almond paste into the sugar in a large bowl, using a pastry cutter or two forks; continue working until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (If you’re using a stand mixer, do this in the mixer’s bowl.) Beat in the flour and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, a little less than 1 minute.
3. Remove 1 tablespoon from the frothy beaten egg whites and place it in a second small bowl, reserving it for later in the recipe. With the beaters running at low speed, pour half the remaining egg-white mixture into the batter in a thin stream. Continue beating until smooth. Then beat in the remainder of the egg-white mixture in 2-teaspoon increments until the mixture is thick and pasty, too wet to roll out but not as wet as icing, about like sticky peanut butter. You’ll probably have 1 or 2 teaspoons of beaten egg white left over; add this to the reserved amount of egg whites and set that aside again. Slowly and gently, stir the grated chocolate into the batter.
4. Fit a pastry bag with a round, 3⁄4-inch tip and fill the bag with the wet dough, squeezing it down toward the tip. Pipe the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet, making a curved, crescent-shaped horn about 5 inches long. Continue making these horns, spacing them about 11⁄2 inches apart. Brush them lightly with the reserved egg-white mixture, then sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheet before removing them for storage.
4 days at room temperature
2 months in the freezer
Any changes to the batter will dramatically affect the delicate texture of these classics. We recommend dipping the cooled cookies in 6 ounces of white, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate that has been melted and cooled for 5 minutes.
Before the chocolate shell hardens, you can coat the dipped cookies by sprinkling chopped whole almonds, sliced almonds, or slivered almonds over their tops (you’ll need 1⁄3 cup total volume).