Almond pastries

Before you say anything, I must tell you that I adore almonds, no matter their shape or preparation. Fresh, roasted, salted, crushed into flour, turned into almond milk, they are one of my favorite things ever, including their scent and texture.

Think that for years now I haven’t been using cleansing milk to wash my face, but almond cream (yes, the edible kind!) – among other things, after dr.Hauschka’s advice, if you know what I mean… but this side of the story has nothing to do with food, or rather, it wouldn’t, if every time I wash my face I didn’t taste the infamous cream.

In Southern Italy almonds are an essential ingredient in many recipes, the ancestral reason being that it has a soothing effect and a rebalancing effect of the nervous system, and thus antagonizes the stimulating action of sea iodine and of the frequent consumption of fish by people leaving on the coast.

The almonds among the oily fruits are the ones containing the least fat, almost all unsaturated; they are a great help for insomnia and muscle spasms (because they are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium); they are useful for anemia (being high in iron); they can increase the number of sperms (because of zinc, which is an essential trace element of the seminal fluid); they are also rich in lithium (thanks to the film that surrounds them), copper and vitamin F, phosphorus and protein; they can increase the vital force of the body, stimulate the production of succinic acid, and thus increase the life span (I took this literally from nutritional biotherapy); lastly, they can fight chronic fatigue syndrome.

In short, while doing the usual surfing, I came across this recipe sogni di zucchero, and I realized that I was going to make it mine in no time!

I blindly followed the recipe, and here it is, in all its glory.

500 grams almond flour
400 grams brown sugar
50 grams acacia honey
4 egg whites
one grated lemon rind

First, put the raw sugar in the blender until powdered. I have done this using thermomix, however it’s most important that you don’t use white sugar (I’ll tell you more about its many negative features).
Then stir the flour with the sugar, the lemon rind and the egg white, and finally add the honey, which serves to soften the dough (you can leave it out, if you want crunchier cookies).

Let the dough stand in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (I left it in all night).

After this, preheat oven at 180°C.
Then take the dough, which will be very soft and not very manageable, and shape it into thin sticks, about a centimeter and a half in diameter; cut them in pieces about four centimeters long, and shape them into an S (but of course you can shape them as you like!).

If the dough is too sticky, try and dampen your hands slightly, or try with more powdered sugar scattered on the table surface, or grease your hands with very little almond oil (the edible kind!).

Gently place the cookies on a dripping pan coated with cooking sheet, and bake for about 15-20 minutes (they must not become colored), let them cool, then cover them with the powdered sugar: put a little powdered sugar in a plastic bag (or, much better, mater bi!) together with three or four cookies at a time, and shake.

Marialetizia (from sogni di zucchero) recommends to freshly grind the almonds on the spot, to obtain more fragrant sweets, and I find that this is a brilliant idea.

Prepared this way, the pastries are very sweet: if you want them to be less “Sicilian”, then decrease a little the sugar and the honey, in equal proportions.

It’s only left for me to wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day :-)

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