I was leafing through my Spanish cookbook and saw these cute almendrados in a dessert chapter. Now I have a husband who is extremely fond of sweets or desserts containing almonds in any kind or form. Thought it worth to keep the recipe in the back of my mind and give it a try one fine day. It is unbelievable how little ingredients go into this one. No chance I could mess it up.
Almendrados (Spanish Meringue Cupcakes)
What this recipe basically is, well I think you can call them meringue cupcakes. I very much like the idea though of putting a beaten egg white mixture in paper cupcake casings and bake them off like regular cakes. Gives you some cute looking portions in the end!
For the record: these almond meringue cupcakes are very popular (and a traditional sweet treat) in Spain during the Holy Week, the week before Easter but it can also be found around the time of Christmas. Mind you, almendrados can also mean almond cookies or biscuits. It is not necessarily the kind of meringue treat below.
Your wildest meringue nightmares are over! These meringue cupcakes never failed before! Why? Because I found the ultimate tricks to make these meringues as perfect as hell…
Good to Know When Making Meringue
- Use egg whites that are at room temperature only! If you store your eggs in the fridge, take them out the evening before.
- Prepare your piping bag before you start the recipe. Once the beaten egg white has reached the perfect consistency you don’t have to rummage around in your cupboards for another 5 minutes first before piping.
- Use a metal or glass bowl. Plastic bowls attract oil and that’s the meringue’s worst enemy. I always rinse the bowl and whisk under hot water and dry them using a fresh kitchen towel.
- Forget the per ”egg white add that much sugar” formula. Carefully weigh the egg white(s) on a scale and add exactly the same amount of caster sugar. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Placing the whites over a double boiler for a minute will help the sugar to dissolve much quicker. Only make sure not to end up with a scrambled egg white omelet! You only need just a little touch of heat.
- If you are still beating the egg whites after 10 minutes and it won’t set, it will never set. So throw out the whole lot and start all over again. The tiniest speck of egg yolk can ruin your recipe before you have even started…
Spanish almendrados with toasted almonds, a sweet delight.
- 2 egg whites
- 7 oz caster sugar (200 g)
- 7 oz shaved almonds (200 g)
- 1 drop almond extract
- ground cinnamon
Pour the shaved almonds in a dry non-stick pan (don’t add any butter or oil) and place it over medium-high heat.
Gently roast the shaved almonds in the hot pan while tossing them up almost constantly until they are lightly golden. Don’t burn them!
Once that's done, pour the roasted almonds onto a clean plate and let them cool down fully. In the meantime pour the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl.
Whip the whites until fluffy. Then add some of the sugar, a pinch of salt and the almond extract.
Whip the whites again. Little by little add the remaining sugar until you end up with a glossy and sticky egg white batter. Make sure the sugar is fully incorporated. Then add the cooled roasted almonds.
Stir all the ingredients gently. Line a cupcake tin with paper casings and fill them with the egg white and almond batter. Sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon.
Bake the almendrados in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes until dry and crunchy. Let them cool down fully at room temperature.
Brutti Ma Buoni
And here’s another egg white recipe for you! I baked these brutti ma buoni cookies this morning and when I pulled them out of the hot oven my husband went like: “yeww, these are so ugly!” but he was lucky. Why? These Italian cookies are supposed to look that way. That’s why they are also named brutti ma buoni, or Italian for ugly but delicious. So job well done then!
This is a good way to use leftover egg whites. The hubs loves making mayonnaise himself for which he only needs an egg yolk. Instead of throwing the white away I always keep it in the fridge in a little container and somehow I always find a way to make something out of it, mainly desserts. Or I add it to an omelet or scrambled eggs. But when I really don’t find the time to make something with it, I freeze it!
For these cookies I used a mixture of hazelnuts, pecan nuts and pistachios. I blended some extra pistachios right in the end to sprinkle them with. I’m sure it would also work well if you used almonds. These cookies are quite chewy. Their texture reminded me a little of my amaretti cookies.
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- 4 oz caster sugar (155 g)
- 3 tbsp plain flour (45 g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 9 oz hazelnuts or pistachios, almonds… (250 g)
1) Add the nuts to a clean blender and blend them into a chunky mixture. Keep the nuts quite rough to add more crunch to your cookies.
2) Place the blended nuts aside until needed later. Pour the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat them for 2 minutes until foamy and a little glossy. Then pour in the caster sugar.
3) Beat well again until the egg whites have thickened quite a lot but are not stiff yet. Then add the vanilla extract and the sesame oil.
4) Beat for another minute. Sprinkle the egg whites with the plain flour and add a tiny pinch of salt as well.
5) Beat the egg whites for another 3 minutes. Then pour in the blended nuts (keep a little aside for garnish if you like).
6) Stir the whites with a spoon now until you get a thick and sticky chunky batter. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Using 2 teaspoons place little dollops of the egg white batter on top of it. Sprinkle with the remaining blended nuts if you kept some aside.
7) Then bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 325°F (160°C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Then remove the freshly baked cookies from the hot oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.