Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Dream Deferred: Italian Almond Cookies

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When my guy and I were in Rome a couple of years ago with my brother and his girlfriend for Christmas, the apartment we stayed in was just down the street from a tiny bakery that had the reputation of selling some of the best cookies and panettone in the whole city – a lucky accident of which we took full advantage!  Every few days we would wander in and make use of my ever-more-limited Italian to buy a bag of treats: chocolate-dipped Christmas trees, jam studded thumbprints, mini pistachio biscotti, and our absolute favorites, chewy, dense, heavy-sweet almond cookies.  Those ones were always the first to go, and we kept finding ourselves having to negotiate over who got the last one.  If only I didn't require so much time stalling while I tried to remember the word for almond (mandorla – of course now I can remember it!), we might have just gotten bagfuls of those each time and called it a day!

So of course the minute we got back to the UK I looked up a recipe.  And then I bookmarked that recipe, bought ground almonds, and... promptly put off making the cookies.  I think I avoided it for so long at first because almond paste (one of the main ingredients) is super expensive, but after a while I just kept forgetting about them.