1 cup + 2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 pinch salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
Spread the almonds on an unlined baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes, Let cool completely. Break up the almonds with your hands into ¼-inch pieces (or use a rolling pin), If piping, keep in mind that any large bits of almond will clog the pastry tip.
Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Combine the egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in the stainless-steel bowl of a stand mixer that will rest securely in the rim of the saucepan over, not touching, the water. Whisk together and then place over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the whites are hot to the touch, about 5 minutes or so. Remove the bowl from over the water and place on the mixer stand. Fit the mixer with the whish attachment and mix on high speed until the mixture is very thick and hold glossy, stiff peaks when you lift the beater. Fold in the almonds and vanilla with a rubber spatula.
Immediately scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (no. 6 or 7) plain tip and pipe onto the prepared baking sheet, forming “kisses” about 1 inch in diameter and spacing them about 1½ inches apart. Or, you can drop the meringue by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and keep the oven door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape. Bake the cookies until they puff slightly, crack along the sides, and feel dry on the outside but soft to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. They will harden as they cool. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool. They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.