2 cups Spanish Marcona blanched almonds, plus about 30 extra Marcona almonds for decoration
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
White chocolate blocks
Blue sprinkles (decoration)
Blue dark chocolate bits (decoration), or
Blue coated almonds (for decoration) or
Blue marzipan, for decoration
1. Zest the lemon
2. Measure out the sugar and the almonds.
3. Using a food processor equipped with a metal blade, grind 2 cups almonds extremely well; until they begin to resemble almond flour.
4. Add 3/4 cup sugar, the egg and lemon zest, and pulse until the mixture begins to resemble dough, that you will be able to roll in your hands later.
5. Put the dough in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
8. Grate or shred the white chocolate into a small bowl.
9. Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.
10. Pinching off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut, roll them first into balls, then into sugar. Only roll in sugar, the cakes that will not be dipped in white chocolate. Also, plan ahead. Don't put an almond into the center of cakes that will later, be dipped into chocolate.
11. For plain cakes without chocolate, slowly press a whole almond, half-way into the center of each cake. On a baking sheet, place cakes one inch apart.
12. Bake until cookies have barest hint of color but still remain soft, 8 to 10 minutes. (Cookies must be soft when removed from oven to avoid excess hardening when they cool.)
13. Cool completely, and store in an airtight container.
For variation, consider dipping all or some of these little cakes into white (or dark) chocolate, melted in a small frying pan over very low heat. For dipping, try using a combination of tongs to dip with, then transfer from tongs to a tablespoon or larger spoon. Push from the spoon, onto a plate or on parchment, to let them harden. While the chocolate is still soft, dust with a scant sprinkling of blue sugar then the tiny blue covered chocolate decoration or blue candied almond, or blue marzipan ball.