Tuesday, October 23, 2012

amygdalota (greek almond cookies)

It happens after every vacation. It's inevitable, really. After weeks of buffet breakfasts, mid-afternoon ice cream cones, and dinners that are heavy on the drinks and desserts, I return home ready to rededicate myself to healthy eating. I have fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and by dinnertime I'm usually ready to sell my soul for a cookie.

Thankfully, the cookie I was craving after this vacation was actually (relatively) healthy.  On night three of my week at Glorious Greek Cooking School on Ikaria, we made these almond cookies for dessert. They're super simple, made with natural ingredients, and, most importantly, taste like a total treat.

Blanched almonds are pulsed in a food processor with a touch of sugar, a dash of honey, and enough breadcrumbs and water to ensure they come together into a rustic dough. After baking, the cookies are sprinkled with rosewater or orange blossom water and rolled in powdered sugar. And then devoured. Because even post-vacation, a girl can't live on fruit and salad alone.

Amygdalota (Almond Cookies)
Adapted from Diane Kochilas

2 cups blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup warm water
rose water or orange blossom water or both (almond)
confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 250. Pulse almonds in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add sugar, breadcrumbs and honey and continue pulsing until some of the almonds are coarsely ground, but there are still some larger pieces. Add some water, a little at a time, and pulse just until the dough is moistened and starts to hold together (you may not need all of the water). Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes to dry out. Remove the cookies from the oven, cool slightly, and sprinkle with a very small amount of rosewater or orange blossom water if desired (be careful--a little goes a long way, Alternatively, you could add orange zest and a pinch of cinnamon to the dough before baking). Roll in confectioner's sugar and cool completely before serving. 

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