Spanish Treats: Panellets and Marcona Almonds

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Panellets with coffee and marcona almonds

Panellets are a treat from Catalonia, the section of Spain that includes Barcelona and abuts the Pyrenees.  They are made from marzipan–almond and sugar–and traditionally coated in pine nuts, almonds, or coconut.  They are associated with All Saints’ Day, a holiday celebrated on November 1 when Spaniards commemorate the dead.   They are made in a variety of shapes. Flavorings have also become more diverse.  I added some lemon juice and zest to the recipe, and I made a coffee batch in addition to an almond one.  Other recommended flavorings include cocoa, chocolate chips, and jam.  Many bakers add either potato or sweet potato to the recipe.  This addition lacks snob appeal; sophisticated bakers view it as a way of stretching the dough.  I added white potato to my dough, just to see how it would work. I think it fractionally reduced the almond taste and had a positive impact. I also used pre-ground almond flour.

The almonds on top of the panellets pictured above are the Spanish variety known as marcona almonds.  They’re rounder, more blanched, and have a more delicate flavor than their American counterparts.  Here’s a link to the recipe that I used:



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