These Greek almond cookies - Amygthalota are one of the best sweets that are made for holiday celebrations and are always served at baptisms and weddings, namedays and on the Virgin's day, August 15th - the day to celebrate the Virgin Mary - a name day for those named Maria and Panayiotis.
Most Greek women can tell you there is one rule to the almond cookie recipe - simply 2 to 1.
It is these almond sweets in particular that are served at baptisms, weddings etc, because they are pure white and sweet, symbolically representing the brides or babies. If you want to get this snow white colour, make sure you peel the skins off the almonds after blanching, before processing.
Try to buy the best quality almonds you can find, it really does make a difference to the taste.
Grease a large baking tray. Preheat oven to 180 C, 350F, gas 4
Either buy blanched almonds or blanch them yourselves (see below for instructions.)
It is best to do this yourself to get the best flavour from the almonds, but you can use almond meal if you don't have a processor.
Place the almonds and sugar in a bowl and mix together.
(Traditional Greek recipes called for these two ingredients to be mixed into a paste with a mortar and pestle, to unleash the almond oil and extract the most flavour from the almonds.)
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites together and add to the almonds.
You can make shapes such as pears, balls, crescent moon, stars or pears.
Once you have done this with all the mixture, place baking tray in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked, though not browned.
If making pear shapes, you can put a whole clove in the top to represent the stem and add flavour.
How to Blanch Almonds.
Why not make these Greek almond cookies for a bridal or baby shower or any other celebration - they are sure to be a great hit with everyone.
Another delicious Greek cookie recipe using almonds are Kourabiethes - an Almond Sugar Cookie Recipe. It has the most wonderful light, buttery taste and is traditionally made at Christmas in Greece.
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