I could not imagine that the traditional panellet cookie from Andorra could taste nice. What can you expect from a cookie made with mashed potato? But when I took the first bite of this cookie, I was pleasantly surprised by the tasty combination of the potato with almond flour, sugar, lemon and pine nuts. The potato makes the panellet into a nice and soft, chewy cookie while the almond and lemon are what you taste best. The toasted pine nuts on the outside give it a nice crunch. In late October this cookie starts to appear in the windows of the pastry shops in Andorra. The cookie is traditionally eaten during the Castanyada festival, the 31st of October just before All Saints’ Day, and you really should have a glass of sweet Muscatel wine or sparkling cava to go with it. Nowadays the cookie has found its way into the Christmas cookie tin too and you will find all kinds of variations. The panellet is often rolled in shredded coconut or slivered almonds and I even found one with a ‘mojito’ filling. I asked everyone I presented this cookie to if they could taste what the main ingredient was. Nobody guessed that it was potato. A fun taste test to try out yourself!
Panellet koekje from Andorra
For about 20 cookies
75 grams (2¾ oz) potatoes
200 grams (1¾ cups) ground almonds
275 grams (1¾ cups) sugar
zest of ½ lemon
75 grams (½ cup) pine nuts
50 grams (½ cup) corn starch
Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and boil about 20 min. in a pan with a little water until done. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Mash the potatoes and let cool completely. Mix in the almond flour.
Stir in the sugar and the lemon zest.
Preheat the oven to 220° C / 425°F. Form balls of about 25 grams and shape them into crescents. Sprinkle with a little cornstarch and brush with egg yolk. Scatter pine nuts over the cookies.
Put the crescents on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the middle of the oven for ± 12 min. until light brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.
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