Preparation / Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 oF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
In large bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, combine sugar, eggs, egg whites and almond extract until well blended, 1 minute. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula.
Blend in half of the flour mixture with spatula, then beat with mixer on low speed for several seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and continue beating until smooth, about 5 seconds. Add almonds, if using, and beat just to combine.
Divide dough into 2 pieces and spread each onto the center of a prepared baking sheet, smoothing each into a 12 x 2 " strip. Bake until firm and light gold, 25-30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 300 oF; cool cookies on rack 10 minutes.
With serrated knife, cut each strip into twenty-four 1/2" slices. Arrange slices standing upright on baking sheets, 1/2" apart. Bake until crisp and light gold, about 35 minutes.