Alegrías, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for “happy”, are made from the highly nutritious, ancient grain amaranth. Wrapped in colored cellophane, they make a nice addition to a gift basket or tin of cookies and candy.
This recipe is adapted from Cocina con Amaranto, a collection of amaranth recipes compiled by Gladys Zavaleta Ruiz of the Centéotl Community Development Center in Zimatlán, Oaxaca. The recipe calls for amaranth that has already been toasted or “popped.” This is sold in health food stores and many supermarkets as amaranth cereal.
- ¼ pound piloncillo
- 1 cup water
- a few drops of lime juice
- ½ pound amaranth cereal (“popped” amaranth)
Place the piloncillo and water in a heavy bottomed pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the syrup has reached the hard ball stage, 245º on a candy thermometer.
Add the lime juice, remove from the heat and add the amaranth immediately, stirring it in with a wooden spoon or paddle.
Immediately spread the mixture on a large platter or wooden board. Press it to a uniform thickness of ½ inch, using a rolling pin or bottle.
Cool the mixture for about 2 minutes, until partially set, and cut it into finger-size strips or squares. Wrap the pieces individually in cellophane and store in a tin for up to one month.