Recipe For Light and Airy Italian Almond Cookies Referred to as Sospiri di Monaca (or Nun’s Sighs)
When our mother-in-law prepared a fabulous cookie for Easter (I’m not just saying that because she’s our mother-in-law, I know what you guys are thinking) we knew we had to document the recipe or, at the least, share a photo. However, when we began our research for the cookie recipe we ran into a bit of confusion. That is to say, our mother-in-law’s recipe was adopted from Mary Palmer’s excellent book, Cucina di Calabria which is entitled Sospiri di Monaca (or Nun’s Sighs), though we’ve always associated Sospiri di Monaca with the cream filled delicacies found in many southern Italian pastry shops (and per the picture below).
So, has Palmer gotten the recipe name wrong and did she mean to label the cookies as Sospiri (translated roughly as light and airy almond cookies sighs)? Regardless of taxonomy, here’s Mary Palmer’s excellent recipe for a very good cake-like cookie made with almonds and honey (usually served at Easter and dipped, half way, with chocolate); if you’re looking for more of a biscotto or cantucci like recipe, click here:
- 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of butter (soft)
- 1/2 cup of almonds
- 1/4 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups of flour (all purpose)
Combine and mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Use a food processor to finely chop the almonds and thereafter add flour mixture. Combine zest, honey, egg, sugar and butter and thereafter combine with the dry ingredients. Mix well and form into a ball, wrap with plastic, and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove dough from fridge. Form into two long rolls (about 1 3/4 inch in diameter) Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place on buttered cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes (or until lightly browned). Melt chocolate over a double boiler, making sure to stir every couple of minutes. Once cookies are ready (and cool) dip into chocolate (half way). Place on wax paper and let chocolate solidify. Enjoy with good coffee or as a quick breakfast (don’t tell your nutritionist).