One of my favorite recipes from my first book, Flour, is a chewy, addictive almond macaroon sandwich cookie. I adore almonds (I always have a handful in my pocket, much to Christopher's chagrin when I forget to take them out when doing laundry), and this recipe came from my former boss and mentor, Chef Jamie. It was a very popular offering at Flour for many years, and I never thought to mess with it until I learned about aquafaba. Aquafaba is the cooking liquid from chickpeas--that thick, viscous water you drain out of the can. For reasons I still don't quite understand, this liquid acts like egg whites in many recipes. There are Facebook groups devoted to aquafaba. It's amazing! We switched out the egg whites for aquafaba in our almond macaroon recipe and it tastes exactly the same…and now it is vegan. I didn't think these cookies could get better, but they did. The batter needs to rest for at least 4 hours (even better, overnight), so plan accordingly when making these chewy treats.
Place the 2 1/2 cups (250 grams) almonds, the sugar, aquafaba, almond extract, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Paddle on medium-high speed for 10 minutes. Yes, 10 full minutes! The almonds will slowly break down and eventually the batter should look like thick quicksand. Scrape the batter into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, to allow it to stiffen up a little bit.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it very liberally with pan spray--this is a sticky cookie, so don't be shy. Using a small (2-tablespoon) ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop balls of dough about the size of golf balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them a few inches apart. Press the dough with the palm of your hand to flatten the cookies until they are about 1/2 inch thick (moisten your hand with water to prevent sticking). Sprinkle the cookies liberally with the remaining 1/2 cup (50 grams) almonds and press slightly to adhere. Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time, until the cookies are totally medium golden brown on top and along the edges and the almonds are lightly toasted. Don't underbake or they will be gummy in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
Almond macaroons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.