Whoa! This post is late. Usually I bake on the weekend from 9:00 p.m. until about 2:00 a.m. Since I baked on Monday, it's a good thing this recipe was so simple. I started about 9:30 p.m. and finished about midnight. The first batch of cookies I piped on the cookie sheet according to the directions. The baked cookies did not resemble the photo in the Baking Bible at all. The second batch I piped on the cookie sheet a bit higher - about an inch and a half. The result was a lot closer to the photo. I really loved the warm cookies. The center was thick with a warm, sweet date flavor. The best words to describe it were decadent and elegant. After the cookies cooled, they still were deliciously sweet, but the texture had changed to a chewy center. The warm cookie definitely had my vote.
In the food processor I was looking for the perfect consistency between finely chopped almonds and allowing the almonds to turn to paste. These almonds are finely ground to perfection.
I didn't use expensive dates. After reading other posts I started to realize the quality of date can make a significant difference in the final outcome of the cookie. If I make the cookies again, I will shop for a good quality date. I need to be better educated about dates before I bake these again. I firmly believe that a person should use the best quality ingredients available if possible.
Mixing the chopped dates and finely ground almonds.
This resulted in a beautiful mixture.
Beating the egg whites until soft peaks form.
After beating in the sugar, the meringue turned very glossy.
I added the vanilla to the meringue and incorporated the date and nut mixture.
Preparing to pipe the mixture on the parchment paper. I have insulated cookie sheets. I was talking to someone at our local baking supply store about insulated cookie sheets and if I should use them for this recipe. The sales person told me that insulated cookie sheets would not brown the meringue on the bottom. As it turned out, the cookies were a light, even golden-brown on the bottom. In her book Rose talks about cookie sheets and comments that insulated cookie sheets keep the bottom of the cookie from overbrowning. I'm still wondering about the pros and cons of using an insulated cookie sheet for this recipe. Rose did not suggest using one.
Meringue mixture piped on the cookie sheet. The unbaked cookie is the closest I came to the cookie looking like the one in the book.
Warm out of the oven.