These delicate cookies refer to the many eighteenth-century varieties perfumed with rose water and almonds. With their relatively loose dough, they are similar to today's "tuile cookies" and are a cross between the "ratafia cakes" and "butter drops" that appear in period cookbooks.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

  1. 6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoon amaretto (almond-flavored) liqueur
  3. 1 tablespoon rose water
  4. 1/2 cup ground, toasted almonds (see Toasted Nuts)
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1/2 cup pastry flour
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 6 large egg whites
  • Butter and flour 2 miniature muffin pans (12 muffins each) and place them in the refrigerator for later use. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • To make brown butter (beurre noisette), fill a stainless steel bowl with ice water. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook the butter until it begins to brown; then remove from the heat and immediately place the pan in the ice bath. Carefully add the amaretto and rose water-the mixture may spatter. Stir to combine. Set the brown butter aside, at room temperature, for later use.
  • In the food processor, grind together the toasted almonds, sugar, flour, and honey until it forms a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites for a few seconds to loosen them. In a steady stream, stirring constantly, slowly add the whites to the ground almond mixture.
  • Add the brown butter to the batter and stir to combine. Cover, and chill the batter for at least 1 hour.
  • Fill the muffin pan molds just above half full. Bake in the preheated oven, with the door propped open, for 10 minutes, or until light golden. Cool the pans on wire racks and unmold.

  • These cookies are similar to eighteenth-century ratafia cakes (prepared with egg whites and almonds) as well as butter drops (made with eggs, butter, and rose water). The following recipe for ratafia cakes appeared in Elizabeth Raffald's cookbook. The Experienced English_ Housekeeper:

    "Take one pound and a half of sweet almonds and half a pound of bitter almonds. beat them as fine as possible with the whites of two eggs. Then beat the whites of five eggs to a sugar beat and sifted very fine. Drop them in little drops the size of a nutmeg on cap paper. and bake them in a slack oven."


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