Croquants aux amandes, almond croquants which means 'almond crisps'. Delightful cookies made from egg whites and almonds and which take about a minute to prepare.
What are croquants?
Croquants are a wonderful and simple dessert you can do in about four minutes, with a couple of egg whites and some almonds. Crisp, as the name tells us, but I like them also a little nougatey in the middle, so they are a bit like that other famous French almond confection: macarons.
Desserts from egg whites are so French
The French like egg whites. Madeleines, macarons, meringues, Mont Blanc gâteau - and iles flottants, just to prove that not all the egg white desserts start with ‘m’. What do they do with the yolks? Mais bien sûr, the custard, or crème anglaise that the isles float on. Or the crème patissiere to fill the macarons. Or lots of mayonnaise.
Patisserie mon amour
French art of patisserie is wonderfully intricate if you consider éclairs au chocolat, croquembouche or Paris-Brest, but they also make things amazing in their simplicity: a few slabs of puff pastry layered with strawberries and cream – millefeuille.
I know, you should make puff pastry from scratch but then you never do, since the good quality shop-bought is, exactly, good quality. More simplicity: croquants, quick, easy and foolproof.
Crunchy or chewy?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if these cookies should be crunchy or gooey. ‘Croquant’ suggests the former, meaning precisely that, but I found the ones a bit less baked nicer. But either way, they soften considerably after a day in a tin.
Croquants de Cordes
There is a variety of croquant biscuits originated from an Occitaine town of Cordes. The lovely ancient fortified town, perched on a hill so it's actually called Cordes-sur-Ciel (Cordes-under-the-sky), is famous for its biscuits allegedly created by Jacques Sicard, a 19th century pastry chef.
The croquants from Cordes are made with chunks or halves of almonds sunk in the biscuit batter, thus making them even more 'croquant'! Try the variety if you like by adding a handful of broken almond pieces to your mix.
How to make croquants
It could not be easier. The egg whites must NOT be beaten but simply stirred together with other ingredients. The batter is dropped onto parchment-lined baking trays by a spoonful, well spaced apart as they spread significantly, and baked for between 10 and 15 minutes.
If you prefer more nougatey biscuits, remove them earlier from the oven. For the crunch (croque!), keep them in the oven a bit longer.
Let your croquants cool completely on the parchment. Only then you will be able to peel them off it gently with a palette knife.
Store in an airtight container for a week or two.