Updated Mar, 4th 2013
First of all, thank you, Kristen, for the wonderful instructional videos. They were very helpful. The learning curve has been steep but I think this is going to work for me. I purchased 'natural' almond flour, not realizing until 5 pounds (and several dollars) later that 'natural' meant unblanched. No worries as I sifted the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture twice. Most of the almond skin was removed though there are a few bits showing in the final shells. They taste delicious so I don't think it is a problem other than it looks like bits of chocolate in the cookie. My second problem was with the sugar syrup. It turned a caramel color before reaching 244*; I think it was the themometer. Second batch of Italian meringue was perfect using a new thermometer. I used peppermint oil (about a teaspoon) to flavor the meringue shells and will use a dark chocolate ganache for the filling.
Several questions: How do I get more of the hot syrup into the egg white and less that ends up splattered to the sides of the bowl of the mixer? Any tips for piping out a consistent amount onto the baking sheets? Fortunately most of mine found a 'mate' in the end. Finally, can you double the recipe to make a double batch at one time? Thanks again...really looking forward to seeing more projects and hearing how to make fabulous flavors like Earl Grey and Salted Caramel.