Makes 1 tower of rings.

Kari Lie based her recipe on one from Sweet Celebrations. Most kransekake recipes use powdered sugar; however, this one uses granulated sugar

• 1 1/2 lb. (3 c.) almond paste

• 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

• 4 egg whites, slightly beaten

• Decorating icing

Break almond paste into small chunks and add sugar and egg whites. Mix ingredients together thoroughly using an electric mixer. If you are using a standard home mixer, mix only half or one-third of the mixture -- or even less -- at a time. Combine all separately mixed portions.

Grease the kransekake rings well, even if you're using the nonstick forms. If you do not have nonstick pans, commercial pan coating is advisable. Otherwise, use Crisco.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fill the kransekake forms with rings squeezed out with a cookie press, or a pastry bag equipped with a 1/2-inch tip. Alternatively, make rings that are 1/2-inch thick by rolling the dough between well-buttered hands, or by rolling it between your palms and a board or pastry cloth sprinkled with powdered sugar. (This latter is easier than just using your palms.) The largest should be about 9 1/2 inches across, the smallest about 3 inches.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until surface is crusty and golden brown. Three rings on one form can be made at one time or just two rings -- the outside ring and inside ring. The middle ring can be baked separately. If all three are made at once, the baking time should be increased from 20 minutes to 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove rings as soon as they are cooled completely. Use the point of a paring knife to loosen the outer edge of cake ring, and then loosen the inner edge. It will loosen immediately if baked thoroughly. When making three rings at once, place onto cooling rack, carefully separating the rings in places where they have baked together. Use care when handling the large rings as they are tender and may break.

Put some icing on the plate on which the kransekake will be served. This anchors the tower of rings. Place the largest ring on the iced plate. Use the icing tube to drizzle scallops of icing all around the ring, then set the second largest ring atop the first.

Repeat the scalloping on the second ring and continue to "build" upward. The icing holds the rings together. The finished cake forms a pyramid. Decorate with Norwegian flags on toothpicks, miniature English-style "crackers" or other decorations.