Spain: Almendrados

Almendrados, almond-lemon macaroons, which date from the 15th century or earlier, are cookies made of ground blanched almonds, lemon zest, egg and sugar and are left out to dry for a day before baking.

“We have found examples of these cookies from 1491,” said David M. Gitlitz, professor of Hispanic culture at the University of Rhode Island. After the expulsion of Jews from Spain, he said, a Jew who was passing as a Christian “was accused by the Inquisition of buying almond cookies from the Jewish quarter in Barbastri in Arag√≥n.”


2 cups whole blanched almonds, plus about 30 almonds for decoration
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Using a food processor equipped with a metal blade, grind 2 cups almonds very finely. Add 3/4 cup sugar, the egg and lemon zest, and pulse to make a cohesive dough. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner. Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.

Pinching off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut, roll them first into balls, then into sugar. Gently press an almond point first into top of each cookie, so that half the almond can be seen. Arrange cookies one inch apart on baking sheet.

Bake until cookies have barest hint of color but still remain soft, 8 to 10 minutes. (Cookies must be soft when removed from oven to avoid excess hardening when they cool.)

Cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 30 cookies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Delicious - and you can drizzle chocolate over them, not authentic but good!