Almond based confections or amygdalotá (αμυγδαλωτά) as we call them are found all over Greece in endless versions. They can be shaped like pears, balls, or little logs and are usually flavored with scented flower blossom water, a liquor or, less often, with vanilla. They are often sold filled with jam or chocolate ganache and resemble French macarons.
Amygdalotá in many Aegean islands are a special little treat symbolizing happiness and prosperity and offered to guests at weddings and Christenings,.
The version of amygdalotá I made today is found in pastry shops all over the country. They are plainer than the filled versions and made with a higher ratio of almond meal.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade grind the almonds to a fine meal. (Have a few whole ones on hand to decorate the cookies.).
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer, adding the sugar gradually until a glossy meringue forms. Fold the ground almonds into the meringue.
Preheat the oven to 170 C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper..
Take spoonfuls of the almond mixture and form balls between your palms. This works best if you first dampen your hands with water so the dough doesn’t stick.
Place the balls on the parchment paper and press them lightly to flatten them a bit and then place a whole almond in the center of each cookie.
Bake them for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
When they cool, place them in a cookie box because they dry out easily.