Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes 3 dozen
2-1/2 cups almonds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 cups flour
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a cookie sheet, and set it aside. Chop the almonds using a food mill. If using an electric chopper instead of the food mill, use the pulse setting to obtain coarsely chopped pieces.
Place them a large bowl, add the sugar, oil, eggs, cinnamon and lemon zest and mix with a wire whisk. Add baking powder and flour, and knead until well mixed. Sprinkle some flour on a pastry board and shape the dough into 3 cylindrical strips the length of the cookie sheet. Place them on the greased sheet, making sure they are far enough apart to not stick together, and bake for 30 minutes.
Cut at a 45-degree angle about 1 inch thick while still warm. At this stage it is not necessary to return them to the oven if a softer product is preferred. However, the traditional version of this recipe dictates the hardening process below.
OPTIONAL: for those who prefer the hard and crunchy cookies, after cutting, place the pieces back on the cookie sheet and return them to the oven at 200 degrees for 1 hour or longer until they obtain the preferred crunchiness.
I remember the old, huge brick oven,rebuilt after the war by my great grandparents, cooked unevenly for the last few years of it's life. Sometimes when Mom or Grandma made cookies (especially at Easter time) they had to use some tricks to make sure they cooked right.
They moved the baking pans around in different areas of the oven surface, or take out some that cooked more rapidly and move the others in the vacated spots... There was definitely a skill to make sure things didn't come out burned or uncooked that I didn't appreciate until much later.
That oven was built poorly because they had nearly nothing when my grandparents and great-grandparents returned to their ruins. None-the-less, it lasted a good 30 years.