Panellets – Catalan Almond, Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Cookies

Panellets

This year, instead of celebrating Halloween, and making all sorts of goodies relevant to my favorite holiday, I’ve decided to celebrate my wonderful city’s tradition of Panellets.  Why, you ask?  Well, because it is the last year that I celebrate this tradition.  You see, in about a month, we are moving to Madrid.

Panellets are these incredibly moist and delicious cookies that are like little pillows of heaven.  They are typically eaten on November 1st, which is All Saints’ Day here, which is called “La Castanyada”, meaning the day of chestnuts.  You eat them for dessert with a nice glass of dessert wine and some hot roasted chestnuts.  Very yummy indeed.  Now, as all good recipes go, there is the catch, to use sweet potatoes or not?  Some people say it is a sacrilege, others say it imparts a moistness that you don’t get if you only use the almonds.  I chose to use the sweet potatoes, because they’re good for you!  And traditionally, they are coated with pine nuts, but lately they come covered in coconut and almonds too.  I did a few in coconut because I ran out of pine nuts.  The choice is up to you!

Now, this is the first time I have made them at home.  After 10 years of being here, I am ashamed of this.  But, to be totally honest, it’s like making Oreos at home.  They are so readily available at this time of year that it almost is stupid to make them.  But, I have to admit that, this is so far from the truth.  Now that I have accomplished this feat, I have to tell you, this is baking 101.  So super easy.  And, the bonus is that they taste MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the store-bought ones.

Now, who feels like a fool?

I really hope that you try to make these, not only are they tasty, they’re pretty healthy as far as cookies go.  No butter.  No gluten.  If you really want to make them über healthy, abstain from the regular sugar and go brown or with stevia.  Up to you.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

To make about 30 cookies

250g sweet potato, boiled, cooled, peeled and mashed

450g ground almonds, preferably marcona

Grated lemon peel from 1 whole lemon

400g sugar

3 eggs, separated, keeping the whites in one bowl, and TWO yolks in another, and ONE yolk in another bowl

400g pine  nuts (coconut and crushed almonds optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).  In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes with the sugar.  Mix in the almond and lemon peel.  Add two of the egg yolks and mix well.

Make small balls about 2 inches in diameter.  Beat your egg whites slightly.  Now align your bowls with the egg whites, the pine nuts and the rest of the coatings if using.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Now dip your cookie balls in the egg white, and roll in the pine nuts (or the other coatings if using) and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat until you have finished all the cookies.  Brush them with the 1 egg yolk, and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet and refrigerate for about an 1.

Serve with dessert wine and some hot roasted chestnuts!

Visca Catalunya!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Peanut butter, Almond, and Pine Nut Slab Cookies

Peanut butter, almond and pine nut slab cookies

It’s cause I was sick.  I needed cookies.  I had the cookie monster on my shoulder saying, COOKIE…COOKIE….YOU WANT COOKIE!  COOKIE IS GOOD FOR YOU  WHEN YOU SICK.

So I listened.  And I made these three nut cookies.  Just cause I love peanut butter.  And almonds.  And pine nuts.  So why not all three in one?

Also, slab or log cookies are perfect.  You don’t have to make 36 of them and then you either eat them all in one go….or they go bad.  Slab cookies you can chill, cut the amount you want to bake, and then freeze the rest of the dough.  How great is that?

So I hope you give in to your inner cookie monster and make these COOKIES NOW!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Adapted from “bigfatcookies” by Elinor Klivans

1 cup unbleached flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely chopped and whole pine nuts

Sift the flour, almonds and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth and blended together.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until blended, about 30 seconds.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.  On low-speed, add the flour mixture and blend until just incorporated.

Form the dough into a rough rectangular slab.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, to firm the dough up a bit.

Check the dough and reshape into a “nicer” rectangle.  Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Or you can freeze it for a month; thaw in the fridge before using.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F (175 C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Unwrap the dough and slice into 1/3 inch slices.  (Slice as many or as few as you need).  Press the pine nuts into the cookies.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Cool them for 5 minutes on the same sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla