Amygdalota (Greek-style almond macaroon cookies) are crisp, with soft chewy centers, filled with a delicious buttercream or without, for me, this is the best meringue cookie recipe!
If you are looking for a great meringue cookie recipe look no further. This is truly one of the best! These cookies have it all. But most of all the perfect texture. They can be both hard and chewy but also soft and creamy.
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Texture And Flavor
If you want hard, crisp, and chewy almond meringue cookies, you can skip the cream and enjoy them as they are, without filling them. They're the perfect hard and crunchy extra chewy meringue cookie to serve with your coffee or tea. Very sweet with a nutty almond flavor.
However, they're simply divine when filled with cream. And especially this delicious vanilla custard buttercream. Which isn't too sweet and balances the sweetness of the cookies.
If you eat them right away, Amygdalota cookies are hard and crunchy with a velvety cream. If you eat them after refrigerating them, the cookies get softer and the cream firmer. To tell you the truth, I can't decide which texture I like more. They're both so good!
How To Make Meringue Cookies
Meringue Ingredients: For the whipped meringue you need egg whites, granulated sugar, and lemon juice.
NOTE: Salt which is used in most meringue recipes, actually increases whipping time and decreases stability (the liquid pool you get at the bottom of the bowl when meringue sits for a while). On the other hand, lemon juice added at the beginning of the beating increases stability.
To make meringue cookies, first, you make a firm meringue. Second, you fold in the icing sugar, and third, you fold in the powdered almonds.
What are powdered almonds? They're finely ground, blanched almonds, as fine as almond meal. Which means they're just a hint coarser than almond flour.
How Long Does It Take To Make Meringue? Meringue doesn't take more than 6-7 minutes to make when you beat over high speed. Instead of focusing on time though it's better to wait and see, meringue will tell you when it's ready (see meringue tips below).
The ground almond meringue cookie mixture will look almost like dough. It will be pretty firm and needs to be like that, to make hard and crisp cookies, not soft meringue cookies.
To shape the cookies you add the almond meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe it into round small disks. Then sprinkle with some flaked almonds on top to decorate.
Baking Meringue Cookies: Bake the meringues at a medium temperature of 160°C / 320°F. Just until they get a deep golden color, this takes about 20-25 minutes.
- All utensils need to be very clean and completely dry when making meringue. Otherwise, it may never set.
- Sugar needs to be added gradually and slowly.
- You know meringue is ready when soft peaks form. Dip a spoon in the meringue and then hold it upside down the meringue shouldn't fall off the spoon.
- For a firm meringue, keep beating until the traces of the whisk can be seen clearly on the surface.
Other Greek Cookies With Almonds:
Here's another recipe for Greek almond cookies. Kourabiethes are shortbread-like buttery cookies filled with toasted almonds and flavored with brandy and vanilla. Rolled in icing sugar these are a favorite traditional Greek Christmas cookie.
The Custard Butter Cream
Amygdalota recipe is usually made with a simple whipped cream or a thick pastry cream. This custard buttercream is my version, as I find it a better match to these cookies. It's thick and firm enough, make them stick together nicely and it's very creamy too!
To make custard buttercream you make an egg-milk custard and then combine it with whipped butter. The most important thing to pay attention to is that both the butter and custard need to be at room temperature.
If the custard is warm it will start to melt the butter. So make sure the custard is cooled.
If you want to make these cookies ahead, what you can do is, make the cookies one to two days ahead and make the cream the next day. Because it's a buttercream it gets firm in the fridge so you won't be able to pipe it easily if you make it ahead and refrigerate.
When you make the cookies ahead, store them in an airtight food container at room temperature.
Another thing you can do is to make just the custard cream the day before without adding the butter. Then the next day, let it reach room temperature and then mix it with the whipped butter.
If you don't fill the almond meringue biscuits you can store them in a cookie tin or airtight food container at room temperature for up to 10 days, perhaps even longer. They won't spoil, only their texture might get softer the longer you keep them.
If you make filled, vanilla meringue cookies you will need to store them in the fridge in an airtight food container. They will keep for up to 5 days. Because of the milk and eggs in the custard, you can't keep them longer than that.
There are a few great toppings for this cream-filled cookies recipe. One is icing sugar and if you like some extra aroma, add some ground cinnamon also.
Another one, which is also a great decor, is to drizzlesome melted dark chocolate. It adds a note of bitter contrast to these sweet cookies.
Or you can even dust some unsweetened cocoa powder for that matter.
Amygdalota - Almond Meringue Cookies
For The Almond Meringue Cookies:
- 225 grams (8 ounces) blanched almonds see here how to make at home
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 70 grams (7 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 160 grams (1 cup + 4 tablespoons) icing sugar + extra to dust on top
- flaked almonds
- OPTIONAL: dark chocolate to drizzle on top
For The Custard Butter Cream:
- 260 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 60 grams (¼ cup) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks
- 60 grams (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
- 100 grams (7 tablespoons) butter softened
To Make The Almond Meringue Cookies:
- Blend almonds in a blender or food processor until powdered (not flour). They should be as coarse as almond meal. And fine enough to pass through a mesh sieve.
- Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F.
- Prepare the meringue. Add egg whites to the bowl of your electric mixer (you can use a hand mixer also). With the whisk attachment on beat egg whites until they begin to thicken. See Note 1 below.
- Add the lemon juice and begin to incorporate the granulated sugar gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beating over high speed.
- The meringue is ready when all the sugar is dissolved and it's become firm enough to see the traces on the whisk clearly on its surface and forms stiff peaks.
- Sift and fold the icing sugar into the meringue in batches using a silicone spatula.
- Fold in the powdered almonds in batches. At this point, the mixture will get very firm.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Pipe 20 round cookies that are about 5 cm (2-inch) in diameter and about 1 cm (½-inch) thick.
- Sprinkle each cookie with flaked almonds. Press very lightly to make them stick.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Until cookies get deep golden.
- Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them reach room temperature.
To Make The Custard Butter Cream:
- Combine milk with cornstarch and vanilla. Heat over medium heat. Stirring often with a whisk so cornstarch won't stick at the bottom.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- When the milk mixture is steamy hot (not simmering), take the pot off the heat, and very slowly add the milk to the egg yolks, using a ladle and beginning with small drops and then continuing threadlike. When more than half of the milk is combined with the egg yolks, transfer it back to the pot.
- Stir over low heat until the custard thickens.
- Pass the cream through a sieve to remove any lumps and into a bowl.
- Cover the cream with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should be touching the surface of the cream so it won't form skin on top. Let the cream cool down to room temperature.
- Beat the butter for 5-6 minutes over medium-high speed until whipped and creamy using the whisk attachment on your mixer.
- Add the custard cream into the butter gradually (IMPORTANT the cream should be cool, not warm). Add 2 tablespoons of cream at a time and mix to combine. Don't overmix, just until the cream is incorporated. Then stop and add the next spoonfuls of cream.
- Transfer the cream to a piping bag.
- Pipe a layer of cream on half of the cookies. Then coat with the remaining half cookies creating a buttercream cookie sandwich.
- Dust some icing sugar on top and if you like some ground cinnamon too. Or drizzle some melted dark chocolate. To add chocolate simply microwave the chocolate over low to moderate heat at 30-second intervals until melted. Then with a teaspoon drizzle over the cookies.