Amigdalota: Greek Almond Cookies from Monemvasia

 Amigdalota (or amygdalota) is the name of one Greek traditional almond cookie that originates from Monemvasia. When you stroll in the romantic alleys of this infamous castle, you will realize that the scents of flower water and powdered sugar wander in the air. Extra aromatic, the amigdalota of Monemvasia are famous. Local people make them for all the happy moments in their lives. Its white color symbolizes joy and purity and its velvety and gentle taste and texture, symbolize the happy man. Not to mention how happy you become when you eat them!

To make these traditional cookies, you need the following ingredients: almond powder, fine semolina, icing sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, rose water, and carnation clove.

Almonds have a special meaning the Greek culture. According to their mythology, Phyllis, a beautiful princess in Thrace, fell in love with Theseus' son, Dimofontas.

The two youngsters met when the boat of the young Athenian Dimofontas was returning from Troy. They got married but after a while the young Athenian missed his homeland and the princess, not being able to bear to see him miserable, let him go back believing that if he loved her, he would come back, and then he would be truly and honestly hers.

And so, it happened. Thus, Dimofontas left alone the enamored Phyllis to wait for him for years until in the end she withered and died from her grief.

But the Gods who knew her story transformed her into a tree so that she could wait for more years for her beloved. As a result, the amorous woman in love did not die but became the tree that was to become the almond tree, a symbol of hope.

Years later when Dimofontas returned to Thrace, he found his beloved and faithful wife as a dry tree without leaves in the middle of the icy landscape. Desperate and full of remorse, he hugged her trunk, and then she flooded with flowers in the middle of winter defeating death.

Thus, the almond tree became a symbol of hope, showing that love always wins death.

This myth has made Greeks considered this tree and its nut a symbol of happiness, prosperity, and good luck. As a result, sugared almonds and any dessert that uses almond as its key ingredient have always been present in wedding traditions, baptisms, and special moments of family life.

Amigdalota which symbolize new beginnings are easy to make and you can store for weeks in air-tight containers. This traditional almond cookie recipe takes one hour to prepare and 15 minutes to bake.  

amygdalota

Amigdalota - Ingredients

  • 1200 g of finely ground almond powder.
  • 259g icing sugar.
  • 5 egg whites 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. rosewater 
  • 75g flaked almonds (for coating)
  • 50 g of fine semolina
  • Icing sugar for topping
  • Carnation clove

Amigdalota - How to make

  1. Start this authentic amigdalota by taking a bowl and combining the finely ground almond powder and the semolina. Stir well and set aside. 
  2. Taking another bowl and with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites, stiff enough to not move when shaking the bowl.
  3. Add slowly the icing sugar and continue to mix until it becomes thick and shiny like a meringue. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the almonds mixture and mix slowly, by pouring a little quantity at a time and folding in with a wooden spatula (do not use the mixer now).
  5. Cover and let the dough and allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Using a tablespoon, take a heap full from the dough and form it between wet palms into a cookie. Add a carnation clove to every amigdaloto. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Put them again in the fridge to rest for another 10 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170C. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and soft. 
  9. Allow to cool down completely. Remove the carnation cloves.
  10. Dip each amigdaloto to rose water and dip them into icing sugar.  
You can store amigdaloto in an air-tight container. Enjoy!