Christmas means many things and as children growing up in Bangalore, years ago, that meant primarily food with a capital 'F'. Christmas was the time we had access to unlimited supplies of food given by friends, family and other well wishers. My grandmother (Ajamma) would send a basket of goodies every year and the four of us would stand around my mother as she opened the Christmas parcel. Our favourite was Macaroons and even now the smell of one arouses nostalgia for those long ago good times. The best macaroons I’ve had came from Vas Bakery in Mangalore and each visit to the bakery during our summer vacation had a sense of expectancy and accomplishment. Later on when we moved to Mangalore, just passing the bakery to and fro college would make our mouths water and noses sniff in appreciation of the delicious aromas wafting on the air towards us.
Many years later my mother got the recipe from my aunt and ever since then Macaroons have become a Christmas tradition in our family. I have baked them for more than twenty years now and everyone loves them. So this year, this is my Christmas gift to everyone who loves baking!!
250 gms sugar, 75 gms cashew kernels or bits, 9 cardamoms (seeds only), a squish of lemon juice; one medium egg white; a pinch of salt
Grind sugar and cardamom in blender. Place in mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and cashew kernels and mix with spatula. Add egg white a little at the time until the mixture becomes a dough like consistency. Discard unused egg white. If too sticky add more sugar. Break off pieces and place on baking tray 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 350 F or 200 C. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until done or slightly brown. Remove and cool. Serve as a dessert after dinner or transfer to airtight container. Subsequent batches take less time, so watch macaroons carefully.
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