Here we give you a recipe from the Sporades islands, up in the northern Aegean: It is customary in some regions to give one to each guest at a wedding or baptism as a symbol of purity and femininity. Traditionally women used to gather prior to the celebration to turn pounds of almond sugar, and oil of roses into marzipan which would later be molded into rosettes. (They will be chewy and sweet!)
- 200 gr. ground almonds
- 200 gr. sugar
- 3 egg whites
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- a few drops of rose water essence
- about 20 almond halves
Extract the vanilla seeds by making a slit down the side of the pod, spreading both sides out and scraping the inside with the back of your knife.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
Mix the ground almonds and sugar together in a bowl.
Lightly beat the egg whites and mix in the vanilla seeds.
Stirring constantly, add the egg whites very gradually to the almond mixture a little at a time. The resulting mixture should be fairly firm and stiff.
At this point you can add the optional few drops of rose water.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag with a star-shaped tip and pipe about 20 small mounds of mixture onto a greased baking sheet.
Decorate each one with half an almond and bake in the oven until the peaks are golden brown.
The cookies will keep for quite a long time in an airtight container.