French Macaroons

1 cup slivered almonds (or skinless hazelnuts or pistachios)
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
3 large egg whites
dash salt
dash cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6-8 drops food coloring
Sandwich Cookie Filling or filling of your choice (some folks like jams, etc)
Oven: 325°

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Pulse nuts and 1 cup sugar in a food processor 5-6 times to break down nuts, then process till finely ground. Set aside.

Combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. On high speed gradually add the remaining cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in extracts and food coloring.

Pour approximately 1/4 of the nut mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold in with large spoon. Repeat process until all of the nut mixture is folded into the egg mixture. Place mixture into a large zip-close bag, seal and snip small corner of bag, creating a piping tool. Hold bag upright about 1" above cookie sheet, then squeeze batter out in 1" mounds. Allow cookies to stand at room temperature 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven last 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 minutes or until completely set, remove from oven and slide parchment paper with cookies & all off of pan onto cooling surface. Cookies will cool on paper without sticking. Once cool, pipe approximately 1 teaspoon filling onto half your cookies, then top each with a second to create a sandwich. Will make about 42 sandwiches (84 cookies)

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