Cooking Time: 20 minutes Makes 12-18 biscuits

(1)Egg whites 2 or 2 in American

(2)Almond or ratafia essence(extract)   few drops or few drops

(3) Ground almonds 150 g/5 oz or 1¼ cups

(4) caster sugar 175 g/6 oz or 3/4 cup

(5) Rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch),   1 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon in American

(6) Rice paper

(7) To decorate:

glace candied (cherries),see method below

almonds blanched see method below


Whisk the egg whites until just frothy.Do not over whisk.Add the essence then blend in the ground almonds and sugar.You should be able the handle the mixture ;if it is a little stiff add a few drops of water,if too moist add a teaspoon of rice flour or cornflour(cornstarch) or a little more grounds almonds.

Place the sheet of rice paper on ungreased baking trays.Form the mixture into balls The ingredients given will make 18 medium sized macaroons or about 12 of average size.Put the biscuits onto the rice paper ,allowing room for the balls to flatten.Top with pieces of glace. (candied) cherry or whole or flaked almonds,the size depends on the size of the macaroons.

Bake in the center of the moderate oven 180°C/350°F Gas Mark 4,for 20 minutes or until pale golden and firm.If you like sticky macaroons place the bowl of water in the oven or on a shelf below the biscuits.Cool sufficiently to handle then cut around the rice paper .Macaroons are better freshly eaten ;they do harden with keeping which is quite satisfactory for ratafias. Make 48 to 60 minutes miniature balls of the macaroon mixture and bake for 10 minutes only.These can be stored for months