Alcazar are Romanian traditional New Year cookies. Delicious disks of walnut meringues, sandwiched together with chocolate-rum filling. A real pure delight. How the recipe has crossed the border to Bulgaria is an ancient mystery. But there is much more to it than that. Actually, the name Alcazar comes from the famous Alcazar Palace in Seville. Does Seville serve delicious meringue cookies, perhaps with a recipe that has travelled across Europe? I don’t know. Do the walnut cookies resemble the spectacular Alcazar Moorish Architecture in the ancient palace, as the Romanians seem to think? I don’t know. A delicious cookie with a delicious mystery. Far be it from me to try to search for more. There is something so beautiful nostalgic in the flavours of one’s childhood memories. A retro glimpse into the past and a delightful enjoyment of the present that makes one happy with no reason but the fact that a New Year is about to come and all the loved ones are with us – close by, in a memory or in a tender scent of a delicious cookie.
For the cookies
- 4 egg whites (around 140g)
- 200g granulated sugar
- 200g ground walnuts
For the filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 200g powder sugar
- 15g cacao powder
- 200g butter
- 100g milk
- 1tbsp rum (or rum extract)
- 50g melted dark chocolate
1. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Add the sugar and continue whisking until the meringue hardens. Add the ground walnuts and fold gently with spatula.
3. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with 1cm round tip and start piping round cookies leaving a spare distance around the disks. The cookies will increase their volume while baking.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until slightly golden.
5. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, cacao powder, rum essence and milk over a double boiler and mix until the liquid thickens. Take off the heat, add butter, mix well and let cool.
6. Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle over melted dark chocolate and let it cool.
7. To assemble the cookies, take two and stick them together with the filling. Optionally, you may dip the sides of the cookies in ground walnuts. Store in cool dry place, until ready to serve.