Sophisticated Shells: Orange Gommés

Payard Cookies include a recipe for "Almond Gommés," a piped almond cookie that gets its name from the fact that they were traditionally made with gum arabic to make them chewy; Payard says his father made them that way at his pastry shop in France. Payard offers a version without gum arabic that uses almond flour instead, which I always have in my fridge. The recipe also calls for candied orange peel, and it so happens that I had recently purchased a pound of glazed orange peel. To be honest, I bought the peel for a specific baking project but then promptly forgot which recipe it was intended for, so I was happy to find another use for it.

Payard offers three variations of this cookie depending on how you want to garnish it -- with a whole blanched almond, a strip of candied citrus peel, or a candied cherry. Since I had so much candied peel on hand I decided to make the "Orange Gommés" variation. It only take a few minutes to make these cookies. You grind together almond flour, sugar, egg whites, and finely chopped candied orange peel in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Then you transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. My batter was so stiff that it took a lot of effort to force it through the tip and the edges of the piped shapes were a little irregular; I emptied the contents of the pastry back into the food processor bowl and incorporated another egg white. Then the mixture was a little looser and piped out just fine. I piped each cookie as two overlapping shells and laid a narrow strip of candied peel on top as garnish before baking.
The piped edges of the cookies took on a pretty golden brown color in the oven. I really loved the look of these dainty and elegant cookies -- each one was slightly different but they still had a very consistent appearance overall. And everyone loved them. These cookies have a firm exterior with a chewy interior and are are deliciously almond-y. I was afraid that the orange flavor might overwhelm the almonds, but the flavors were nicely complementary and very well balanced.

These cookies are similar to the Almond Cloud Cookies from King Arthur Flour -- but the cloud cookies are more chewy and also have a stronger almond flavor due to the addition of both almond extract and almond oil. Otherwise, the ingredient lists for the two cookies are quite similar, although this recipe uses almond flour and the almond cloud cookies use almond paste. But the gommés definitely outshine the cloud cookies in the looks department. Their sophisticated good looks match their delicious and distinctive flavor.

Recipe: "Orange Gommés" from Payard Cookies by François Payard.

Previous Post: "Who Knew Clouds Are So Chewy?: Almond Cloud Cookies," April 19, 2012.


Louise said…
Your cookies look lovely and I'm sure they were delicious. I'm an orange fan so I look forward to making a batch of these. Do you have any idea how long these cookies keep?
The recipe says two weeks in a cool, dry, place, or one month in the freezer -- our cookies only lasted maybe three or four days and they kept beautifully during that short amount of time.