HEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
CREAM together shortening, sugar and almond extract in large bowl until well combined. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy. Add ground almonds, flour and salt; mix on medium speed of mixer until well blended.
ROLL dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheets. Indent each ball with thumb.
BAKE 20 to 25 minutes. Fill each indent with scant 1/2 teaspoon preserves. Return to oven; bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled, if desired.
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