If you try Amaretti, or bitter almond cookies, one time, you’ll never want any other versions. Easy to make, these delightful treats from Piedmont are common and loved all over Italy. These cookies come in several versions—crispy, soft, chewy, or sugar-coated; but one thing they have in common is that they all melt quickly in your mouth. Their intense taste comes from the almonds since there are just three ingredients: almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
What are amaretti cookies made from?
Although the traditional recipe calls for the same quantity of sweet and bitter almonds, in my recipe, I will only use what we call “sweet” almonds because bitter almonds are hard to come by outside of Italy. Therefore, we will substitute almond extract for the bitter almonds because it is made from bitter almonds.
What do amaretti taste like?
Their taste is unique; it’s a blend between something bitter and sweet at the same time.
Do amaretti contain gluten?
In the classic recipe, they do not contain any gluten, so they are suitable for people following a gluten-free diet. These homemade delights are perfectly paired with a good cup of coffee and the bonet, a delicious chocolate custard.
How are amaretti stored?
Since an average serving is about 3-4 cookies; store the remaining ones in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days so that they don’t get moist. You can also crumble and add them to sweet puddings, cooked fruit, ice cream, yogurt, or fresh fruit salad.
- 3/4 cup of ground almonds (180g)
- 1 cup of sugar (200g)
- 4 eggs white
- 1 tsp of almonds extract
- If the almonds are not peeled, toss them into boiling water for a minute, run them under cold water, strain them and blot them with paper towels. Squeeze the nuts so the skins come off easily. Lay them out to dry or dry them for a few minutes in the oven at 300°F (148° C);
- If you have bought peeled almonds, put them in a food processor and pulse them along with the sugar. Place the ground mixture in a bowl.
- Beat the egg whites until firm (the test for firmness is to turn the bowl upside down, and if they don’t fall out, they are beaten enough); gently fold in the sugar, the almond mixture, and the almond extract to make a smooth paste;
- Place some parchment paper onto a baking tray, use a pastry bag with a sized-10 tip (0.4 inches) to place walnut-size dollops of the mixture approximately 1 inch (2cm) apart; let sit for 1 hour;
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (148° C) and bake for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown;
- Open the door, switch the fan on, and let amaretti cool down in the oven so that any trace of leftover moisture is eliminated, and your cookies get really crunchy.
The perfect amaretti: some advice
- If the paste turns out to be too solid and dry, add another egg white (after you have beaten it firmly).
- Almond flour may make amaretti too dry, so use whole almonds instead.