I've been making and eating these cookies for as long as I can remember. They are perhaps one of my favorite cookies of all time. No Italian Cookie tray is complete without them. They have a crisp outside but a moist and chewy center fragrant in almond flavor! I think almond paste is wonderful when creating this cookie and beats making the paste yourself. Just a great shortcut and a no fail way. My way to always top these cookies is with a halved bright red maraschino cherry, but I have seen my family use almonds and espresso beans. Any which way, they are all delicious and adorable! The cookies themselves are Gluten Free as well!
Preheat oven to 325'F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Break almond paste into small pieces and place into food processor or mixer. Add sugar and mix well. Add the egg whites and mix until moist, about 2-3 minutes.
Pipe using a large star tip into rounded swirls about 2 inches in diameter or roll into a ball and gently press down a little and top with half of a maraschino cherry, almond or espresso coffee beans. Cookies should be at least 1 inch apart.
Bake 20 minutes on middle shelf, move to upper shelf, (about 4" above middle shelf); for approximately 8 minutes until light golden brown. Move parchment paper with cookies onto baking racks to cool. When completely cool carefully peel macaroons off paper. Store in airtight container. Buon Appetito!