Combine the 2 cups almonds and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor and grind as fine as possible.
Add the egg whites and almond extract to the almond mixture and process until well blended. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and process again until a thick paste forms. Set the paste aside for 30 minutes (it will continue to thicken).
Preheat the oven to 300°F Coat two or three baking sheets with oil or butter.
Drop tablespoon amounts of the almond paste mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between. Place an almond slice on top of each one. Bake for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the macaroons are lightly golden on the bottom, 5 minutes more.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and loosen the macaroons. Set them aside to cool completely on the sheets. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes 36 Macaroons.
NOTE: You can also pipe the almond paste onto the baking sheets through a pastry tube, as is traditionally done.
MACAROONS GREEK-AMERICAN STYLE.
When the Greeks were introduced to chocolate, they went quite treloi, “crazy” for it, and now dozens of chocolate treats fill the display cases in sweet stores. Chocolate is not, however, much used in home baking. In a Greek-American touch, a drizzle of chocolate adds just enough of the rich taste without overwhelming the subtleties of the macaroons.
Heat the chocolate pieces and liquid together in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven until the chocolate is soft but not bubbling, about 1 minutes. Whisk to smooth the mixture and then heat it a few seconds longer until it is runny but not boiling. Brush or drizzle a little of the chocolate over the top of each macaroon. Set aside to cool until the chocolate hardens, about 10 minutes. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.