By the reckoning of the former ballerina-turned-baker, doing it right means starting with eggs from local Wedge Oak Farm in Lebanon, Tenn. Lehner separates the whites from the yolk and ages the whites for a day. Then she whips the whites and folds in blanched-almond flour and other ingredients. She pipes the meringue mixture into peaks on a cookie sheet and lets them rest for 40 minutes before placing them in the oven. There, she cooks them for four minutes, turns the pan, cooks them for two minutes, then two more minutes with the door open — possibly longer if the weather is humid. Next, Lehner joins two cookies with a layer of ganache and lets them rest for a day to soften the interior and infuse the flavor of the ganache into the shell. It's a formula Lehner and her assistant and childhood friend, Rae Ross, came up with after a year of experimentation, and the result is a crisp, plaster-smooth pillow that gives way to a chewy core.
I may or may not have read Carrington's review before we went to press this week, and may or may not have gone directly there after an interview nearby. As someone who cannot bake to save his life, a macaroon that takes three days to make and tastes this good is almost more than my brain can handle. Check out Carrington's review, or The Almond Tree's website.