2 large egg whites, beaten to blend
Ground cinnamon or cardamom or garam masala, for dusting (optional)
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Place 1/4 cup (50 grams) of the sugar in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with metal S blade. Using a Microplane grater or a five-hole zester, and working over the bowl of the processor, remove the zest from 1 of the oranges, catching the zest and the spray of citrus oils in the bowl. Pulse until the sugar is tinted pale orange and looks a little damp from the citrus oil.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar and the almonds to the work bowl and process until the almonds are very finely ground, the mixture has started to pack together, and the volume in the bowl has reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the work bowl; add the flower water, almond extract, and salt; and pulse to blend. With motor running, slowly pour the egg whites through the feed tube. At first, the mixture will form a ball. Continue processing until a tan, sticky dough forms, 15 to 30 seconds. Using the five-hole zester, and working over the processor, remove the zest from the second orange, catching both the zest and the spray of citrus oils in the processor. Pulse briefly to distribute evenly.
Drop the dough by generous teaspoons onto the prepared pans, spacing them about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Dust the cookies with the spice, if using. Let stand for 30 minutes before baking. The cookies will spread a bit and dry. Adjust oven racks to middle and upper third. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
Bake the cookies, switching the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking to ensure even baking, until they are puffed and pale beige and beginning to color a little around the edges, about 25 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on the pans on wire racks before peeling them from the paper. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.