I stumbled across a recipe on Food & Wine Magazine for a traditional German Christmas cookie called the “Haselnussmakronen.”
My linguistic prowess was able to decipher this into “hazelnut macaroon,” and, judging by the photo, there was a dollop of some kind of fruit marmalade or preserve added into the middle.
The hazelnut, or “foundouki,” as we call it in Greek, was a treat my grandmother used to bring out when we were good kids. They were round and crunchy and usually reserved for guests who came to visit and presented in fancy silver bowls alongside a cold beverage or aperitif.
So to me, the hazelnut is as much Greek as it may be German to the Germans. So why not create a Greek variation, I thought?
Food and Wine’s recipe used five ingredients and less than 45 minutes prep time in five easy steps. A recipe from heaven, I thought.
The trick in transforming these Haselnussmakronen into my new Hellenized creation that I named “Foundoukota” was the Greek marmalade that I used, instead of the raspberry that was used in the German recipe.
Three flavors of Greek marmalade are available at the Olive Grove Market, including mandarin from Chios, Strawberry from the Peloponnese and Fig from Kalamata, giving me a great opportunity to create a nice variety.
NOTE: Makes about 30 small cookies
1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup jam
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400° and line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Step 2: Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until the skins split and the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and rub together to release the skins. Let the hazelnuts cool completely.
Step 3: In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted, 5 to 7 minutes. Fold in the hazelnuts.
Step 4: Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a soup spoon, scoop 1 1/2-inch rounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 11 to 13 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while they’re still hot, carefully make an indentation in the center of each with the back of a teaspoon.
Step 5: In a small saucepan, boil the raspberry jam for 30 seconds, until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon of the hot jam into the center of each cookie. Let the jam set and the cookies cool completely before serving.
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