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
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!
From my kitchen to yours,