During a college study-abroad year at the Università di Bologna, William Teresa of Minneapolis, Minnesota, dated a fellow student. The couple would frequently visit her family in Cesena, a small city in Emilia– Romagna, where Teresa became immersed in the cooking lives of his girlfriend’s parents and grandparents. “They were so lovely,” he said. “It was wonderful to be in a place where food is so rooted in tradition and place, and to encounter something that has always been made by the same people, with little variation.” One of the grandmothers baked a chewy-crispy and outrageously rich almond cookie, which the family enjoyed with espresso. Teresa was instantly smitten and perfected the formula when he returned home. “They’re not like any other American cookie,” he said. “Maybe that’s why so many people ask me for the recipe.”
1 egg white
2 1/4 cups almond flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/8 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for coating
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg white until soft peaks form.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, granulated sugar, and lemon zest. Stir in the egg white, honey, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and knead into a ball of dough (the dough will be slightly sticky). Shape the dough into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut the log at 1/2-inch intervals and form the dough into egg-shaped cookies.
Fill a shallow bowl with powdered sugar. Roll the cookies in the powdered sugar, coating all sides and gently tapping off excess powdered sugar. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets (cookies spread only slightly) and bake until only slightly browned with a cracked exterior, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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