Ballokume are traditional Albanian cookies, that have become the symbol of Spring Day. The ingredients are very simple, but the technique is a bit challenging.
Ballokume homeland is Elbasan, an old city in Central Albania, that’s why this recipe and tips come from my friends from Elbasani, Xhulia, and Ivlin.
I would prefer them less sweet, but since it was the first time making them, I had to respect the tradition and make sure they would be as good as the ones made in Elbasan. Next time I will play a little bit with the fat and sugar, and I will spice them up with saffron.
- 1 kg fine corn flour without 1/3 cup (or a handful)
- 1 kg sugar
- 400 g butter
- 8 eggs, ideally free-range eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or a handful)
- ½ eggshell of water with fire ashes (finj)
- Melt the butter and skim off the foam using a spoon.
- Let the butter slightly cool.
- Meanwhile, add the fire ashes on a glass filled with water and let it precipitate.
- Add butter and sugar on a big bowl and beat until it has doubled in size. It took me 30 minutes.
- Then, add eggs 2 at a time and keep beating. You should beat them 5-7 minutes, each time.
- Add corn flour in batches and beat 4-5 minutes after each addition.
- Then, add ½ eggshell of fire ashes water.
- At the end add the all-purpose flour and mix well.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare a big pan with baking paper.
- Form ballokume using an ice-cream scoop, or 2 tablespoons.
- Make sure there is enough space between ballokumes, because they tend to spread while baking.
- Bake in the preheated oven until they start to get a light golden color.
- Let them cool for few minutes on the pan, before removing them.