A delicate spice calls for a delicate cookie. So when looking for ways to make the most of the gorgeous color and ethereal flavor of saffron, meringue puff cookies were the obvious choice. The result is a decidedly adult-friendly cookie with a light, crunchy exterior and a wonderfully chewy interior.
ALMOND SAFFRON PUFF COOKIES
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes 36 cookies
1 pinch saffron threads, crushed
1 tablespoon hot water
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) finely chopped almonds
Heat the oven to 300 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the saffron and the hot water. Let stand for 2 minutes.
Add the egg whites, vanilla, salt and cream of tartar. Beat until soft frothy peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until thick, glossy, firm peaks form.
Use a silicone spatula to gently fold the almonds, half of them at a time, into the egg whites. Be careful not to deflate the whipped egg whites. Scoop the mixture by rounded tablespoonsful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until very light golden brown and puffy. Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition information per cookie: 60 calories; 35 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 4 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 2 g protein; 20 mg sodium.