Saint Emilion Old-fashioned Macarons

Down in good 'ole Bordeaux rests the beautiful region of Saint Emilion, a medieval treasure with villages, vineyards and the original macaron. I'm not referring to the Ladureé macaron mecca; these old-fashioned "biscuits" originated in the village of Saint Emilion centuries ago! 
Here's a sweet bit of history I scavenged:

"The recipe, believed to include the mix of sweet and bitter almonds, was a secret closely guarded by this small religious community and passed down through generations of the order until, in 1930, it passed into the hands of Madame Grandet. With the help of her family she opened the Blanchet Bakery at 9 rue Guadet. Three generations later and this small maison artisanale is a thriving business, where the recipe remains unchanged and the preparation and baking is still done by hand. Even the almonds are selected, roasted and powdered on site. Whilst other bakeries exist in St Emilion none have the right to bear the name St Emilion Macaroon (macaron in French)."     -Kerry Swash

We tried a bite of Madame Grandet's during our wine tour, and I was immediately determined to try these at home.
We were informed that old-fashioned macarons only require almonds, egg whites and sugar. This is true. However, after Googling the Saint Emilion recipe throughout my afternoon, I finally came across a European baker whose conversions threw me for a loop. Little did I realize how mathematical a baker must be. I acquired more research on conversions (I bookmarked this page for future reference) and, luckily, the ratio worked perfectly in my adapted recipe.
See those brown almond shell speckles in the macarons below? Yes, that's right. I made my own almond powder. It was a simple step that made all the difference in the consistency and taste.
My parents and I agreed, upon trying our macarons, that the Saint Emilion flavor was indeed present. Plus, they're only 105 calories per macaron biscuit! Bon Appetít.
saint emilion old-fashioned macarons

Makes 12 macaron biscuits

Per serving: 105 cal. | 5 g fat | 14 g carb | 3 g protein

6 oz. packaged sliced almonds
3/4 cup sugar, divided into two parts
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1. With a food processor, pureé almonds to a "powder" consistency (see photo above). Measure 1 1/4 cups of almond powder and place in medium mixing bowl.
2. Mix half of sugar with powdered almonds, add one egg white and stir well. Mix in second half of sugar before adding second egg white and almond extract.
3. Once ingredients are completely incorporated, leave to sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
4. Lightly grease or place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Use a tablespoon to scoop dough and drop 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, opening oven door from time to time to help develop a crisp shell for the soft interiors.
6. Cool macarons completely on a wire rack before serving.

adapted from kerry swash at