Cyprus Macaroons (“ergolavi”) are traditionally given as “kerastika”. There is no English word for this, but I think it is a very sweet idea. (ba dum chhhh). In Cyprus, on certain celebratory occasions like your birthday, or when you baptize a baby, you typically give those invited to celebrate with you a treat – called “kerastika”. “Ergolavi” were typically handed out for baptisms, weddings and birthdays. Nowadays, of course, there are a variety of “kerastika”. In any event, don’t let not having a special occasion put you off from making “ergolavi”. These cookies are very easy to make if you have a food processor. If you do not, you will need a mortar and pestle to grind the almonds. “Ergolavi” are delicious with coffee. And they have a soft, chewy center that reminds me a little bit of marzipan.
I think they are best enjoyed right out of the oven, or consumed during the next day – otherwise they tend to go hard. So, in any event, they should be kept in an air-tight container. One good thing about these cookies, is that they freeze extremely well for up to 3 months. This week I had the chance to pick up some tips from Joey Armstrong, an amazing food photographer based in Vancouver.
I took over the cookies and enjoyed the time learning. I also made some Greek coffee and we took a quick Cyprus-coffee break and enjoyed some of these cookies. They were really such a perfect treat for an afternoon pick-me-up summertime snack!
300g slivered blanched almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 egg whites
zest of 1 orange
1tsp almond extract
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2. Measure a 1/2 cup of the 300g slivered blanched almonds. Coarsely chop the almonds. Set to the side in a flat pan.
3. Put the rest of the silvered blanched almonds and the granulated sugar into a food processor. Grind together into a fine powder.
4. Add the icing sugar, zest and almond extract. Pulse 2 seconds.
5. Add the egg whites and pulse until it forms a firm paste.
6. Take walnut sized teaspoon of the firm paste and shape into a cylinder.
7. Roll the cylinder in the coarsely chopped almonds and shape into a crescent shape.
8. Place on parchment paper on a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes until very light golden brown.