Cherry-filled almond cookies

Biscotti cegliesi
Biscotti di Ceglie

Originating from the Ceglie Messapica area of Puglia, these simple and downright addictive cookies have been a home favorite ever since discovering them at the Slow Food Cheese fair last year. I’ve been making an adapted recipe of these whenever I feel like something sweet for snacking, but with Easter coming up fast, these cookies are a tasty addition to the table.

Cherry-filled almond cookies

Ingredients:
8 oz. almond meal (ground whole with skins on)
8 oz. almond flour (ground whole with skins blanched off)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
zest from 1/2 lemon
few drops orange extract (optional)
cherry jam (preferably thick and not runny)

Cherry-filled almond cookies

Add all ingredients except cherry jam into a large bowl. Using your hands, combine and work together until it comes together into a ball; divide into 2 equal portions. Lightly flour work surface and pat one portion to about 1-inch thickness. Spread about a couple of tablespoons of cherry jam in the center, fold over the top half, and gently press edges together.

Cherry-filled almond cookies (sliced)

Now this is the tricky part, and I will say that depending on how thick the jam is, rolling the filled dough into a log can be a little messy. Lightly flour work surface as needed, and gently roll the dough – working from the center and outwards – until it reaches 20 inches in length. If it tears in some areas, gently patch it together but don’t worry about 100% perfection in this rustic-looking cookie. Slice into 24 pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cherry-filled almond cookies (baked)

Place slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Note in the image above that some cookies will “burst” while others leak out a bit of jam, but for all gustatory purposes, no one will mind at all!

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