Macaroons made with ground pistachios, almonds or cashews are nothing like their coconut cousins. They’re soft and pillowy on the inside with a delicate, flaky shell. The French sandwich a soft layer of ganache between two of them, while the Italians cover them with slivered almonds or pine nuts.
Nut-based macaroons, in fact, are the original Passover cookie. Sicilians under Islamic rule in the 9th-10th centuries adopted these Persian almond-based confections and made them their own. They used almond paste, ground pistachios or pine nuts to make these small melt-in-your-mouth cookies, which are today known as amaretti or pignoli. To this day, Italian, Sephardic and Syrian Jews enjoy these soft, nutty cookies during Passover.
You can make your own alternatives to coconut macaroons this year with the recipes below:
Italian Almond Cookies by David Liebowitz
Almond Lemon Macaroons (Almendrados) by Joan Nathan
Sephardic Style Macaroons by The New York Times
Pignoli Cookies by Bon Appetit
Cardamom and Cashew Macaroons by Waitrose
Syrian Style Pistachio Macaroons by Jennifer Abadi
Little Pistachio Cookies (Pastine di Pistacchi) from Food 52