We’re going to be in full 30×30 swing here for the next month because, per my usual M.O., I have procrastinated way too much with my list. Hopefully I finish it in time, but if not, I’m not sweating it.
Despite being behind on my list, I actually managed to make these cookies twice (so far). I’m not sure how I’d managed to NEVER have made amygdalota my whole life before this. Unfortunately, knowing now that they take a whole 5 minutes to put together is probably not a good thing.
Amygdalota are in top contention with melomakarona for my favorite cookie. If you like almonds, you’ll like amygdalota (ah-meegh-dahl-lo-TA) because, well, almonds pretty much make up the whole ingredient list. I try not to be overly effusive and gush about every single recipe on this blog, but this one deserves to be gushed about, because it’s just that great. The texture of these cookies is very much reminiscent of macaroons—slightly crisp edges with a soft, sort of chewy center. They’re also naturally gluten free.
I used Peter’s recipe for these because I’ve noticed many of our family recipes tend to be similar, and this seemed much easier than trying to get any semblance of a recipe over the phone from one of my own family members. The first time I made these I used slivered almonds because that’s all I could find blanched (and there was no way in hell I was going to blanch my own almonds) so I guessed that the measurement would be a little different. That batch turned out delicious, but the dough was not really the right consistency so they spread a lot and were not the traditional cookie, which holds its shape much better.
The second time around I used a weight measurement, assuming the 4 cups called for in Peter’s recipe was equivalent to about a pound. My cookies were still a little less firm than his, but to me they were perfect, so this is the recipe I will use going forward. I also reduced the sugar just a bit, which may have contributed to them being just a teensy bit looser than Peter’s. If you’ve seen these at Greek bakeries, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them looking much more decorative and that’s because they often tend to pipe the dough through a pastry bag into swirls, which you could definitely do. But, for me, plopping down the dough is more my style (and by “my style” I mean easier and less prone to errors).
If you have 5 minutes to prep these and you love almonds, these are for you. If you have 5 minutes to prep these but you don’t love almonds, just bring them over to my house.
Adapted from Kalofagas
Makes about 12-16 cookies
1/2 lb. blanched almonds (and a couple ounces extra, just in case)
2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking pan with parchment or a silicone baking sheet.
Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground.
Use a wooden spoon to mix the ground almonds with the egg whites, sugar, and almond extract until a relatively stiff dough forms. If the dough is too loose, add additional processed almonds.
Drop 1-inch mounds of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, evenly spaced. Top each mound with an almond.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are firm, but the insides are still soft, and the cookies are golden.
30 by 30: Amygdalota (Greek almond cookies)