The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bolle di neve...snowballs?

peachfuzz's picture

bolle di neve...snowballs?

I tried the bolle di neve in Carol Field's <em>The Italian Baker</em> last night, and I have some questions for those who have made them or made similar cookies. The ingredients are:


125 g almonds

125 g granulated sugar

80 g candied orange peel

125 g confenctioner's sugar

2-3 tsp egg white

You're meant to grind the almonds and sugar to a powder, grind the orange peel, mix in the confectioner's sugar, and then bind it all with egg white. Field also notes that you can use ready-made almond paste in place of the almonds and granulated sugar.

- The amount of liquid (2 to 3 teaspoons) of egg white seems pitifully low to me. I added probably a whole egg white more than that before my dough would even come together, but my cookies ran all over the place and bubbled; I thought they were supposed to stay in a dense little ball. Any ideas of better proportions for liquid to dry? Or do I just need to mix it longer, or grind my almonds finer?

- I did not blanch or peel my almonds. Could this have made a difference?

- Almond paste already has liquid/egg white in it. What is the usual proportion of egg white to almond/sugar?

If you've made these and they've turned out well, I'd *love* to hear from you. Thanks!

BostonNicholas's picture

Be sure to grind your almonds very fine. Remove the skins by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain them and rub them in a kitchen rough towel. off will come the skins... set aside to dry and then use your food processor to grind them to very fine. A trick is to put the sugar and the almonds together in the processor and that will add to helping grind the almonds to a fine texture.

Now as far as the egg whites are concerned...something is wrong with the recipe. I would take one or two egg whites and beat them until stiff. Fold in the powdered sugar as per the instructions and the almond sugar mixture, and drop by table spoon onto parchment paper lined tray. spacing the clumps apart. Or, you can use a pastry bag, with a large tip and pipe them onto the paper. Your oven should be set at 300º. (A trick to keep them white is to put one teaspoon of white vinegar into the batter.) There is a method of turning up the oven high. Place your cookies into the hot oven, and then turn off the oven and let them bake until done. Some folks use the overnight method and remove them the next morning. That allows them to dry out and become crisp.   

Good luck.


EvaB's picture

so research that on the web, and read, read, read. They don't do well in humid climates, and while you can just grind the almonds with the skins on, they won't be white! Unless you beat the egg whites stiff they won't stay in mounds, research macaroons as well, these are another almond meringue type cookie.


BostonNicholas's picture

Hi Again Bolle di neve,

Here in the South there is a recipe called Divinity Candy essentially Meringue based treats. Yes to you about damp days or high humid days. Meringues are temperamental. Dry days are the best to fool around with this recipe. 

But certainly one needs enough egg whites beaten stiff to incorporate your other ingredients and to keep their shape.