Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finger Food for Football Fans
What’s cooking? Greek Almond Cookies

January is a month of football parties. And even though I grew up in Texas, I’ve never been much of a fan. So I’m often, um, less than punctual to parties where the main idea is to watch football. Which means I’m more often asked to provide dessert than appetizers.

This week, it was the BCS. A contest between a team I know almost nothing about (Notre Dame) and one that as a loyal Vanderbilt fan, I’ve always rooted against (Alabama). I’m not sure Vandy has ever beat the Crimson Tide.

But I do love dessert. Moreover, I’ve been eager to try a recipe I came across recently in a book my cousin gave me on Greek food. I like eating Greek food, but much of it involves either eggplant, which I don’t like, or phyllo dough, which is tricky, so I’m not much on learning to cook Greek food. But this recipe looked so simple, it was almost irresistible.

Once I had the ingredients, the recipe took me less than half an hour, start to finish. Really. You make the entire thing in the food processor – except for the baking, of course. And the baking is only 10-12 minutes. The results were delicious, and so easy I made a second batch just to play with the timing. I also think I’ll play with the flavoring the next time I make them – adding lemon zest or orange zest and switching to a piece of candied ginger or dried date on top. Let me know if you try a variation that works.

Kitchen Goddess note to dieters and gluten-free friends: These cookies are fat-free, and the recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies, which means less than a teaspoon of sugar per cookie. Not a bad way to start the new year.

Greek Almond Cookies (Amygdalotá)
Adapted from Around a Greek Table, by Katerina Katsarka Whitley.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

1½ rounded cups blanched almonds (slivered or whole – makes no difference)
½ cup sugar
3 large egg whites
topping: approximately 36 whole blanched almonds (enough for one per cookie)

Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a large baking pan with baking parchment or use a non-stick mat (e.g., Silpat).

In the bowl of a food processor, process the 1½ cups of almonds for 20-30 seconds, or until they are ground to a fine consistency. Add the sugar and the egg whites and pulse another 30 seconds or so, until the ingredients are well mixed.

Using two teaspoons (one as a pusher), place the dough in spoonfuls about the size of a 50-cent piece onto the parchment. Press a whole almond into the center of each.

Bake 10-12 minutes. The original recipe calls for baking 10 minutes, which will produce cookies with a warm white color and lightly tan on the bottom. I cooked my second batch for 12 minutes, and got closer to a light gold glow on top, which I preferred, and about the same on the bottom. The taste was the same both times: barely crisp on the outside, chewy and sweet on the inside. Transfer the cookies to a rack for cooling.

Kitchen Goddess note: These cookies are like meringues in that they are sensitive to moisture in the environment. I made them the night before, but wanted to crisp them up a bit before taking them to the party. I put them back into the pans – on the parchment paper – and stuck them into a 250º oven for 15 minutes, which turned out perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. FYI...I know of a few times Vandy squashed Alabama...
    1956, 1969 and 1984. Oh, and the cookies look great!
    Eileen in Atlanta